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Full text of "Omni Magazine (March 1985)"





VOL. 7 NO. 6 




Oes.'ey Bonesleli. known as 

the dean of astronomical 

art. created this month's cover, 

"Mars from Deimos," in 

1953. While exploring the ooiaio- 

shaped outer moon of Mars, 

astronauts take advantage of 

the satellite's low gravity 

to indulge in a bit of play. 















„, Peter J. Ognibene 



The Arts 

Mitch Tuchman 



Data Bank 





Thomas 0. Paine 




Daniel Kagan 




Terence Dickinson 



TO VA^; 


James E. Oberg 




Gardner Dozois, Jack Dann. 50 
and Michael Swan wick 






Pamela Weintraub 




Eric Meola 




M. G. Jacobs 



Edward de Bono 

Anthony Liversidge 




Sherry Baker 




William E Wu 



UFOs, etc. 




Henry Genthe 




Scot Morris 




Clyde James Aragon 




By Thomas 0. Paine 

^Instead of flying • 
only robots to Mars, we 
must also send 1 
software— the seeds 
and blueprints 
of man's own humanity.^ 

.■::! , .■,■■!!!:. I ' I jack as '•:;■ 

years ago. Martian landings v-.'-H prove 
easier because such- LechniQL.es as 
aerobraking can be readily employee Both 
the American shuttle and Ihe Soviet Union's 
giant new Series G launch vehicle, wish 
its estimated cargo capacity of 200 lcns : 
can easily reach low Earth orbit (LEO). ■ 
Within a decade both ihe United States and 
the Soviet Union will have LEO spaceports 
capable of assembling, loading, lueling : and- 
launching deep-space transports to Mars 

Robotic Viking probes have already . '• 
transmitted years o! environmental obser- 
vations of the Martian surface, providing us 
with sufficient design information- 10' 
CORStrtiCl the first permanently manned- ■' 
Martian bases. And because the Apollo. 
Shylab. shuttle, and Salyuf-Soyuz programs 
have effectively used most of the compo- . 
nenls needed for Martian spaceships,- 
Ihe technology to extend manned operations 
to Mars exists on our drawing boards 
today The availability of waier on Mars will. 
provide a favorable, climate [or the devel- 
opment of agriculture and a robotics, indus- 
try In fact we know far more about 
manned operations on Mars today than, we : - 
knew about lunar tandmgs when ihe 
Apollo program was launched in 1961 . 

Because of the high likelihood of Mars 
settlement in the next century, space- 
development resources should no! be 
expended on one-shot Apollo-type manned 
expeditions to Mars. Instead future robotic 
and manned visits should be designed 
to prepare the way lor permanent settfem.errt 
and successful colonization. To facilitate 
such a historic goal every Mars mission 
should leave behind materials, sundry 
supplies, and equipment, with qualified men. 
and women remaining on Mars to work -< 
between resupp ! y missions Instead off-lying 
only ha icf ware a; id :ons of "'arena! that 
car be producer! by robols on Mars, we 
must also send -software — the very soods 
and blueprints of man's own humanity. 

Once we covo^p economical space- 

I ■ ■!.:■■,:■■ ■,■'!!■ ',■ .!.'. . ! 

ecology Ire-suooor! technologies, bom ihe 
■ '■ id" ,'l i. iv .■■■■ii ■ ■■ ■■■ !■ i -■ ,!■ ■ 

:rves;mc:-;i -n now-giow:!-- e 
which hign-iech industries use unique 
oxtralcir;-;3lriai resources, will initiate 
widespread economic development . 
throughout the solar system. Access to ■ 
virgin continents and vast untapped 
resources will open an endtess frontier teat 
■wjll.in turn eliminate the dire Malthusian- ' 
limits imposed by human aspirations. 
Currently un imagines r e search -and -devel- 
opment bases -n ow- escape -velocity 
worlds will provide ideal locations for 
planetary research, spaceflight develop- 
ment, and me exp oration of asteroids ' ..- 
-ird the entire solar system. These industrial 

lr inerv v.H: p;ov:de man with the opportu- 

n : ly io OuiiU f or war '.booking technocracies 
w.tn advanced soc-ai compact teai will 
P : ace a h;Qn value on individual 'osponsi- 

I i ^operative 

human fellowship. - 

;., _.._.-■.:■. - Hvi 

of "v ,i:. oeri i 1 ■ as gnificanl The basic 

desre to preserve li-c- and to "-a 

deeply treasured hu^an beliefs and cultural 

■: lag;* 

■; d;« 

II be a 



.:;l. io: 

Industrial and-ect 

;/■■;:■« ■: 

!■■■; ■■:•■•'■€ 

ire o' our Mars e.splora'ior Go;' 
.1 " ,. i:-, . ;■ ■:!. :■ i sue: ■ ■ 

Individual genes, wnole famies. and entire 
races in promising new human habitats 
will abound So w.H Ihe promise of a future 
devo-c oi disease ignorance, fear and 

e , i i' i idiees Preventing terri- 

toii-.il w\-irrare be; ween nigh-tech nations 
and replacing stnfe wiih positive con- 
quests oi new worlds for all mankind will be 
i rin t;est of a!! our rewards 

Closed -ecology life-support systems on 
Mars will provide iuiure generations with 
Ihe experience to colonize other areas 
of our solar system and, eventually, with an 
expanding final frontier of remote planets 
Circling other stars. 

I arri- convinced that these driving forces 
will appeal Io many pioneers and national 
! eaders. Such expedition-: .v a-fact more 
volunteers than can be initially accommo- 
dated. The leaders pf the Soviet Union. 
nave expressed their Determination to 

tern as in ihe case of 5 
Si)i.:tr.:k. -.he Kremlin appears to perceive 
ihe broad human appeal of space explora- 
tion more clearly man many ,n Washington 
oo: I believe thai Sove: cosmonaut; win 
^r-ive^ io Mars any visi! F'hcbos n 'he 
Nineies and thai this ovenl win spark a 
sirdar dcic-r^.i ration ■■<:■. the West foi Mars 

■■,■,-, i ij ; i 
no- w;i:t kr Ihe Soviet Union to b^.r.e 'be 
trail to Mars, however We need a bold 

VJSiOl ' r '>!■ i" '.■■!!■ I . .■!.', ■ ■' 

Iwenty-firs: century, wiih the permanent . 
occupation o* Mars as a central theme.DG 

Thomas O. Psi.ne tvas idn^^va;-; o: NASA 



^ ^^^ ec dirt vistas pcckmai'^oc 
1^^^ deep craters; a'tem.,a"ed ar 
I ^^™l charged with icy hues from the 
shimmering, amber sun; polar caps waxing 
and waning, their rhythms ancient and 
bold. The planet Mars, a world of mammoth 
volcanoes, dry riverbeds, and global dust 
storms, has long Deer shrouded in myth 
and mystery. But someday soon, human 
settlers riding inorp aneiary ships may 
penetrate the veil, estahlsnng mar roc: 

bases on the most h i ; <m, ii .i ■ 

extraterrestrial ical estate ir trie solar, system. 

The value of that real estate is described 
in "Racing the Soviets to Mars" (page 44), by 
NASA engineer James E. Oberg. Yes, it 
would cost a lot to (erraform Mars, rendering 
the sterile world habiiad o to; humans. 
Oberg says. But the investment — roughly 
£300 bil ion to $500 billion -would- pay 
oif handsomely. The value of Mars alone 
would come to at least 1 trillion 1985 dollars. 
Precious. meta's from astetods and water 
from 'the two' Martian moons would multiply 
that value. And the value of new human 
knowledge in fields as d-verse as climatol- 
ogy, geology and 'node no would' be 

As Oberg's article points out, dreams of 
a Mar: ar r-ission dismissed less lhah a 
decade ago, have now taken hold. But the. 
bold new plans are iusi fne latest in a 
series of dreams. In "Red Reprise" (page 
78). Omni seno 1 " editor Pamela Weintraub 
examines literary and artistic conceptions 
ol the red planet. In 1894. Weintraub. 
explains, astronomer Perci.val Lowell postu- 

10 OMNI ■ 

ia'eci an ex. t rate cos':' a inloli gonce afler 
s():;ng Martian "canals" through his 
looscopo. Science-fiction writer H G 
Wells described the Martians as malevolent 
geniuses hoping to invade Earth. And in 
1938, Orson Welles broadcast a radio play 
about an imaginary Martian invasion; 
millions were convinced. 

If science writer Richard Hoagland's 
thesis is correct some of the mythology may 
yet be proved true. During the Viking 
mission to Mars Hcag'-and says NASA 
photograph 35A72 recorded a three- 
dimensional, lacelike image on the planet's 
surface. Analyzing the picture still further, 
Hoagland claims in Mctropo is on Mars" 
(page 641 he found evidence ot a ■;:: ty 
arranged in a grid pattern near the face. 
There are also too many astronomical 
a'lgrme'ils. he contends, to be ■"c-ro 
coincidence. Hoagland, who was science 
advser to. Walter Oonkite ana is now 
working on The Monument ol Mars: A City 
on the Edge ol Forever, a book to be 
published by Prentice- Hall, adds, "Unlike 
wild claims of anc en: astronauts and other 
modern fantasies, there is one simple, 
elegant way for the American people to 
find out whether my theory is correct: 
Return to Mars. The Russians have recently 
announced a mission to Mars. They plan 
to take high rcsolulon pciLros o:" the 
surface of Mars itself. If, in fact, there is a 
planettike civilization, they will detect it." 

Visions of a iVariar cullj'o also serve as 
the basis for ' The Goes o) Mars" (page 
50) Th:S oollaucialive effort, by science- 

fiction writers Gardner Dozois, Jack Dann, 
and Michael Swanwick. lakes us aboard 
the first manned mission to the fourth planet. 
After a five-week-long interplanetary 
dust storm subsides, the NASA lander 
descends, and the astronauts discover a 
perplexing dilemma. 

Discovery is also the subject of "An 
Epidemic in Disguise" (page 84). by Atlanta- 
based writer Sherry Baker. In this compel- 
ling story, Baker describes the problems 
faced by Dr. Orian Truss, a medical deteclive 
trying to expose a hidden epidemic. 
Several million people in the United States 
alone may have undiagnosed candidiasis, 
a yeast infection. Truss claims. The simple 
yeast parasite, which ravages the body, may 
be implicated in conditions ranging from 
allergies to AIDS. 

"When I attendee ".he Yeast/Human 
Interaction Symposium in December 1983," 
s'ays Baker, "I talked to dozens of physi- 
cians about their experiences in treating 
patients lor candidiasis. Over and over, 
these doctors told me how they had at first 
doubled Truss's theory, but after trying 
his ideas on patients with unexplained 
symptoms, they were amazed at the 
spectacular rale of success." 

Finally, we offer two other fiction pieces 
this month, On page 70, M. G. Jacobs 
■presents "Minor Surgery and a Poker Game," 
set on an intergaiact z ship r deep space. 
William E Wu's story "Hong's Bluff" (page 
90), meanwhile, has an Old West setting— 
except the figures shooting one another 
are bionic hombres.OO 

A Hi JUIiiBL .■ill 




Poetic License? 

The US. Army Matick Research and Devel- 
opment Center at Nahcx.. Massachusetts, 
has an excellent track record. National 
media, both print and electronic, have 
attested to lhat, and I am proud to be 
associated with the work done here. 

My office assisted Bill Lawren in his 
article "Air-Cond t oned Underwear" 
[Conlinuurn, November 1984], Lawren did 
not come here. He wrote the article from 
information we sent him, and I feel he took 
liber I es presenting that information. 

Obviously he is a witty man with more 
than a fair degree o' sarcasm .n his soul. I 
enjoy wit. His having fun at our expense 
is understandable. His homage lo humor, 
however, leaves much to be desired when it 
results in such a poor representation of 
serious work. The work done here sustains 
America's soldiers. If that's funny, then 
ignorance is bliss. 

Harvey Kecnc 

Public Affairs Officer 

Department of the Army 

Natick, MA 

Marital Flexing 

[ am holding you responsible for the recent 
complications that changed my life from 
joyful to sorrowful. Specifically, I feel that 
games editor Scot Morris must answer 
these charges, for it was his hexaflexagon 
[Hexplay, October 1984] lhal started the 
whole mess. 

I constructed my -irst hexaflexagon back 
in the early Sixties, after Martin Gardner 
began his malhanalicai-yan-es column in 
Scientific 'American with an article about 
the strange little feoed shapes. I thought 
they were safe, and so hexes of various 
sizes were soon scatlered throughout my 
house. This dismayed my wife, who did 
■not understand the paper toys. In order to 
ease Ihe tension, I showed her how to 
flex, the hexaflexagon. Soon she was Hexing 
away for hours a day. 

For a while, this made me a happy man. 
Then- one day while my wife sat in front 
of the television, playing with one of the 
larger flexagons I had constructed, the bell 
of her faded-blue terry-cloth bathrobe 
got caught in one of the folds. She continued 

to ilex, however, and soon Hexed herself 
into oblivion. I didn't panic, because I 
had already read of a similar occurrence 
concerning a fellow who had caught his 
necktie in a Hexagon. He later returned to 
this world when he popped out of another 
hexaflexagon many miles away. 

Years passed, my wife was declared 
legally dead, and I remarried. My second 
wife was not as easily dismayed as my 
first wife. She didn't even own a terry-cloth 
robe. I figured I was safe. After all, no 
one was folding flexagons anymore. That 
is, until recently. Within a week after the 
publication of your October issue, I received 
a call from a gentleman in South Dakota. 
He'd been playing with a paper toy that he 
had cut out of Omni when a "dismayed 
woman in an old bathrobe" came folding 
out. She claimed to be my wife. Do you see 
the trouble you've caused? My life is now 
filled with accusations of bigamy and 
wife abuse. And it's all your fault. 

Norman Enomoto 
Bountiful, UT 

Editors' reply: Apologies lor any inconve- 
nient, our vexatious 
little hex may have caused you. We sought 
Scot Morris to ofler you advice, but when we 
^ looked in his office, all we lound was a 
.'ie*:« f.'exagon on his chair 

Music Buff 

Hats oft to Bill Moseley for a wonderful 
report on his ocyssey through Stage 15 at 
MGM/UA, during the production of the 
motion picture 2070 [Arts/Film, December 
1984]. I was pleased to read that 2010 
director Peter Hyams said the success of 
his project lay in creating a film "for those 
who have no a priori knowledge of 2001." 

Moseley's article did, however, contain a 
small error. The haunting 2001 theme, 
"Also Sprach Zarathustra," was credited to 
the wrong Strauss jonanr Strauss is 
responsible for "The Blue Danube," used in 
.2001 to score Kubrick's breathtaking 
spaceship/space station ballet and during 
the film's closing credits. Richard Strauss 
composed Zarathustra. 

James Diehl 
Rochester, NYOO 


Omni welcomes speculation, theories, 
commentary, dissent, and questions from 
readers in this open forum. We invite you 
to use this column to voice your hopes 
about the future and to contribute to the 
kind of informal dialogue thai generates 
breakthroughs. Please note that we'cannot 
return submissions and that the opinions 
expressed here are not necessarily those ot 
the magazine. 

Nuclear Alert 

"Meanwhile, Back at ihe Lab . . .'" [Forum, 
Ociober 1984] brings up several points thai 
need to be discussed carefully. 

Sue Stephenson writes thai her lab is 
building a "credible nuclear force that is a 
deterrent to aggressive acts by our adver- 
saries." If 1 percent of our present nuclear 
force is used, almost all forms of life on 
Earth will be destroyed. The ability to kill 
everything over and over again is beyond 
any credible solution and borders on the 
ridiculous and paranoid. 

Stephenson says that the lab employees 
are "some of ihe best scientists, engineers, 
and administrators in the world." If they're so 
smart; why does their January 19. 1984, 
lab directory instruct all employees that 
during a nuclear alert they should: "Secure 
all classified matter. Close windows and 
doors. Turn off all electrical equipment. " 
Immediately take best available cover where 
you are. Remain under cover until all blast 
effects are noted. Then proceed quickly 
to the nearest fallout shelter." And Stephen- 
son has the nerve lo call those demonstrat- 
ing against the lab naive. 

She complains about demonstrators 
who blockade the laboratory and "break 
the law." The demonstrators are always 
nonviolenl and commit only misdemeanors, 
if that. We have every right — -in fact it is 
our duty — to see thai the government 
keeps its agreement regarding the 
manufacture of mass-destruction weapons. 
Marilyn Davis 
San Francisco 

I remember vividly the Three Mile Island 
accident in 1979. i was in Middletown, 
Pennsylvania, at the time, and I recall when 
several friends who lived at the Penn State 

22 OMNI 

Middletown campus were evacuated and 
taken to the Hershey Arena to live. I am 
bitter that General Electric is wasting the 
taxpayers' money. People should realize that 
all the nuclear fission needed exists a 
very safe 93 million miles away -and thai the 
reason solar energy is not more, 
widespread is because the monopolies of 
the world can't find a way to capitalize 
on an energy source they cannot control. 
Joanne Mercer 
Lancaster, PA 

Freeman J. Dyson [First Word, July 1984] 
and Ben Bova ["Nuclear Threat and 
Promise," Forum, November 1984] set too 
much store in technology and too little 
in the individual. Our problems with the 
specter of nuclear war do not lie in creating 
more sophisticated systems to make pres- 
ent ones ineffective. Our central 
problem is that we have individuals with a 
Stone Age mentality controlling a Space 
Age technology. What kind of liberty is 
it when the price of freedom is ihe constant 
fear of nuclear destruction? 

To break the death-lock with the Soviets. 
we need an intellectual break with recent 
history and a return to traditional values. 
Then we will see that our greatest weapon 
is people's desire for freedom. 

Niccolo Caldararo 
San Francisco 

Ben Bova may know a lot about technology, 
but his letter "Nuclear Threat and Promise" 
reveals how naive he is about politics. 
A star-wars program will only escalate the 
arms race by forcing the Soviets to take 
countermeasures that in turn will encourage 
the Americans to explore counter-counter- 
measures, and on and on. In the end we will 
only add new layers of complexity 
to a situation that's already out of control. 

For 40 years the military has been 
promising us that :he noxi weapon will 
bring us security. Even Bova realizes that 
'no such thing- will happen. If our leaders 
continue "condemning us to seek ever-better 
military advantages, they will also be 
condemning us to death. 

Don Lago 
Columbia, MO 

I have admired Ben Bova and his work for 
many years. It was with utter surprise 
that I read his views regarding the star- 
wars space-defense system. 

The University of British Columbia recently 
held a conference whose locus was 
Nuclear War: The Search for Solutions. 
One of the key speaks-'; was retired admiral 
Eugene Carroll, of Ihe Center for Defsnse 
Information, in Washington, DC. Among the 
topics discussed ■■.■vas Sna;;;:- Defense — 
Can II Work? Carroll pointed out that the 
system will cost more than $1 trillion 
to develop and will protect land-based 
strategic missiles not the civ fan population. 
By doing so we retain a second-strike ca- 
oao; ity in the event of Soviet attack. 

There is no defense against nuclear 
weapons except getting rid of them. Human 
beings have lived long enough with the 
threat nuclear devices present. 

Beverly Pinnegar 
Vancouver, B.C. 

I commend Omni and Paul Bagne for the 

care that was taken in preparing the article 
'After the China Syndrome." on the Three 
Mile Island Unit 2 [September 1984], Bagne 
got a "total immersion" into TMI-2 for three 
days and left here with a mass of material. 
He showed balance and aumirable atten- 
tion to detail in sorting through it. 

I have only two cavils with the article. In a 
paragraph on the "cascading malfunc- 
tions" that produced the TMI-2 accident, 
the accident was describee as happening 
"in seconds," with the reactor core 
reduced to rubble that quickly. Actually, 
there was a period of about five minutes 
before the high pressure njocnor- uj'-ps 
were turned off. This was followed by a 
period of more' than an hour before we 
turned the pumps back on. Only after this 
time lag did the upper third of the core 
collapse. Also, while the title of the article 
had flair, it was misleading. The China 
syndrome refers to an accident involving 
the-meltdown of a reactor's uranium fuel. We 
had a severe accident at TMI-2, but we 
have seen no evidence of melted fuel. 

Douglas H. Bedell 
Manager. Communications Services 
Three Mile is and Ni.c e^: Si>:' onDO 


' By Daniel Kagan 

The skies of Mars glow pink: a 
breeze swirls (he planet's dust 
upward. The ground shivers slightly. 
Near one of the dry riverbeds that lace 
the terrain, a roboi has oeciun io "brealhe," 
its ceramic lung taking in ihe air around it 
and expelling it into an adjacent container, 
The product ot this respiration — pure 
oxygen — is essential to interplanetary flight. 
"The first thing you want to do in space 
is to make something that gets you 
somewhere. That's propellant," says Warren 
Dowler, a chemical engineer at NASA's 
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena. 
California. Dowler. along with Robert Ash, 
professor of mechanical engineering at Old 
Dominion UmversTy. n Norfolk, Virginia, 
has devised a robotic refinery lor processing 
the carbon dioxide on Mars into carbon 
monoxide and pure oxygen. This is the first 
step in creating a Mart an 'gas station" 
on the red planet. 

Their relinery is a rather simple device 
known as an electrolytic pump. The pump 
uses an electrical gill, situated between 
the Martian atmosphere and an oxygen- 
collection system. The pump sucks in 

carbon diox de arc "liters out dust, then 
feeding the gas into a matrix of tubes. Next 
the carbon dioxide is heated to around 
1000°C: at thai iomporaturc. carbon dioxide 
breaks cown into oxygen and carbon 
monoxide. The oxygen m grates to the 
ceramic lung, and the lung then "breathes" 
the molecules into a circulatory system, 
which co^lc-cis no oxycen cools It to a 
liquid, and saves it. A small nuclear reactor 
or a radioisotope generator powers the 

The small, self-sustaining processor 
could be sent to Mars a year or so in 
advance pi a manned mission. By Ihe time 
i astronauts arrived, the tanks would be 
lull. Hydrogen, which makes up the other 
half of the fuel, must be sent, along with the 
processor, from Earth. 

"You just store- the hydrogen a;oms by 
mixing them with a little carbon to make . 
methane." Dowler explains. Methane is easy 
■q refrigerate and transport. 

Mars. is nol the only planet whose 
resources could readily be converted into 
propellanf. Ash Is currently working on 
plans for processing the water ice on the 

satellites of both Jupiter and Saturn. 

"We can now begin to talk seriously 
about applying the technology described 
by Arthur C. Clarke in his book 2010: 
Odyssey Two," Ash says. "The idea is to 
use water ice as a source of oxygen for life 
support and propellant." 

Two different machines could gather the 
ice. One device would have a vacuum- 
sweeper apparatus that travels over the 
water ice. Uranium oxide spheres inside the 
sweeper would generate enough heat to 
convert the ice into steam, which would then 
be stored in liquid form. An alternative 
would he to use a device that quarries the 
ice, drops it into a hopper, and then 
changes ihe ice to liquid. 

Both units would channel the liquid into a 
"little electrolysis cell, just like in chemistry 
lab," where an electric current would be 
used to separate the oxygen from the 
hydrogen. The hydrogen could be stored 
in a gaseous state, the oxygen would 
condense out as a liquid and would be 
routed into a different container. 

The environment on one of Saturn's 
moons. Titan, makes collecting and storing 
the oxygen and hydrogen fairly simple, 
As you move farther from the sun, the 
surface temperature drops. On Titan, you 
can store liquid oxygen without refrigerating 
it. And refrigerating hydrogen on Titan 
takes a minimal amoun! of energy. 

How far are we from placing refineries in 
space? A few obstacles must be overcome 
first, according to John Niehoff, manager 
of the space-sciences department at 
the Science Applications International 
Corporation, in Chicago. "A fair amount of 
money has to be spent on testing," he 
explains. 'And there's a question as to 
whether such systems would be cost effec- 
tive. It it could be tied to an evolving 
mission, the cost could be amortized over 
a broader range of opportunity." 

Ash points out that a comprehensive 
computer system must also be built into the 
. Martian refinery. 

"The artificial-intelligence part needs to 
be developed, but the rest is simple," Ash 
says. "I'm anxious for people to know what 
can be done with the present technology. 
And we can do ihis right now."DO 



By Peter J. Ognibene 

■ #% ■ e can find no record of your 
. ! II filing a 1984 individual income- 

\J U tax return (Form 1040. 104QA 
.or 1040EZ)." If ihe Internal Revenue Service 
(IRS) sends you a letter that begins with 
this ominous salutation, look out; The 
tax collector has you in his sigh:s. Yc.i. 
apparently, are one oi the 5 million Ameri- 
cans who should have i led a tax return but 
did not. Nonfilers cost Uncle Sam about 
$3 billion a year in lost revenue. The IRS 
believes il can find many, perhaps most, of 
them by using a technique known as 
computer matching. 

t ;s a Dsyuilngly s mple cea. Take two 
or more lists that have at least one feature in 
common, and match them by computer. 
With tax records, the key elements 
are names and social security numbers, 

The IRS routinely compares an individual's 
Form 1040 againsl his wages (Form W-2) 
and any miscellaneous income (Form 
1099), such as interest or dividends. But its 
plans to use computers to match official 
forms with informalion obtained from 
commercial lists have raised concerns 
about the accuracy of such information as 
well as the prospect ol c.-oaung the very 
sort of national da I a bark Congress banned 
in 1974 when it passed the Privacy Act. 

The IRS is gather'nc; a potpourri of 
computerized commercial lists, including 
data on real-estate transactions, new- 
car buyers, and licensed plumbers. Those 
lists will be matched against IRS master 
tapes, and anyone on the lists who has nol 
filed a return will probably get the letter. 

The- project began in February 1984 in 
four areas: Brooklyn Indianapolis; Milwau- 
kee; and Reno, Nevada. Thetargels: 
anyone who appeared to earn more than 
S10.000 but did not file a 1982 tax return, 

"The IRS is attempting to determine 
whether commercial lists can supplement a 
variefy of other efforts to identify persons 
who fail to file returns," says Roscoe L 
Egger. Jr., the commissioner of internal 
revenue. "We are seeking only information 
needed to determine whether there was 
an obligation to file. Consequently, estimated 
annual income is of primary interest. But 
olher information, such as age and number 

28- OMNI 

of people in a household, may also be 
looked at because these factors affect filing 

Robert Elhs Smith, publisher of Privacy 

such lists because they "are not precise 
enough lor mav ; cua enforcement investi- 
gations and because the information was 
provided for a wholly different purpose." 

Egger disagrees. "Information in 
commercial lists is available in raw form 
from public records and documents; 
purchasing if in this form is more efficient 

t "Moreover, the lists are available to car 
' dealers, furniture salesmen, and numerous 
other vendors. If this public information 
can be used \o sell everything from alumi- 
num siding to magazine subscriptions. 
why shouldn't it be available to find tax 
cheats as well?" 

Yet Smith's point is well taken, Often 
based on little more than guesswork, the 
information in commercial lists is imprecise. 
And computer matching also raises 
questions that go beyond the quality of 


£ ^^^V ■ l^^^ 

Cri.'ii'-'O.''. 1 Ccnc'L.'icrs ;"'"■'■' ou\ lax cheats, 

data. When Core/ess earned the creation 
of a national data bank a decade ago, it 
had in mind a huge mainframe computer 
containing millions of eiec:rcnic dossiers, i 
With the proliferation of minicomputers and 
microcomputers that are linked over 
telephone circuits, however, Ihe notion of a 
single data bank has become technologi- 
cally obsolete. With computer matching, a 
skilled investigator can instantly pull 
together dozens, even hundreds, of 
independent sources of information. In 
short, we now have a national data network 
that can silently pry into the private affairs 
of practically anyone. 


For some people, Ihe problem isn't 
writing; it's finding all those notes, quotes. 
and ideas they've jotted down — and then 
either misplaced or forgotten. Now it's 
possible to have your file cabinet at your 
fingertips as you write. Refining an earlier 
and more expensive iirooram (The Idea 
Processor; $295). Idea Ware, Inc., and 
Paperback Software have come up with 
two programs that can operate separately 
or in concert. Executive Writer ($70) works 
as a word processor Executive Filer ($50) 
functions as an electronic file cabinet 
stuffed full of "notecards" that can be cross- 
referenced ten ways and copied just by 
tapping a few keys. (Available at computer 
stores or from Paperback Software, 2612 
'Ace Street, Berkeley, CA 94710.) 

Using persona computers and modems, 
thousands of employees can stay at home 
and gain access 'o iheir o'-ice computer. 
Unfortunately, the same technology can be 
exploited by computer vandals. Sleuth is 
designed to counter this threat; It verifies that 
a caller who logs on with an authorized 
password is in fact an authorized user. Upon 
receiving a password, Sleuth disconnects' 
Ihe incoming call and places a call to 
the individual's preprogrammed phone 
number, The system, which can hold 
74 names, passworcs. and pnone numbers. 
costs $465. (Available from C. H . Systems, 
Inc., 8533 West Sunset Boulevard, Suite 
106, Los Angeles, CA 90069. )DO 



■By Mitch Tuchman 

Cryplozoologists study whal is 
presumably exlinct or whal was 
never more than imaginary. But what 
cryptozoology lacks as a science, it makes 
up for as a literary genre of dubious 
repute. Field ropers of exoeddons in search 
of Sasquatch or mokele-mbembe — a 
relative of the brontosaurus purportedly 
extant in Central Africa — are as formulaic 
as any popular detective yarn or steamy 
historical romance. The cryptozoologist's 
report always contains at least one reason 
why the animal, unknown to science at 
the outset of an exploration, remains 
unknown at iis end. Witness a 1983 quotation 
from the journal Cryptozoology: "Alas, all 
my notes were lost in Spanish Guinea 
when the Pangwe attacked the caravan 
carrying my few belongings." 

When a sighting is claimed, as in the 
case of a recent Congolese expedition, it 
cannot be corroborated: "The emotion and 
alarm at this sudden, unexpected event 
[the sighting] disrupted the author's attempt 
to film the animal [mokele-mbembe]. The 
film had been almost totally exposed 
already, and the author unfortunately began 
filming with the lens cap on." 

Nevertheless, cryptozoologisls are 
nothing if not optimistic, and it is character- 
istic o! the genre to conclude each report 
with a call ior further expeditions, better' 
funded and better equipped. 

The 'almas of Mongolia, the wildman of 
China's Hubei Province, and the ri of New 
Ireland, to name just a few, may be myth. 
But the myth mosl diligently pursued by 
cryptozooiogs's : s the sc-entific blockbuster, 
the staggering overnight discovery whose 
. symbol is not the little fruit fly ol ploddingly 
meticulous, classical genetics, but Nessie, 
rising sleek and unmistakable from the 
mists of the loch, This closet romanticism is 
not inconsistent with the more openly 
romantic aspects of the genre: the expedi- 
tion into the heart of darkness to confront 
the dragon of evolution's dawn." 

As metaphor, the dinosaur is instructively 
contrasted with the teddy bear. Teddy 
lives in ourworld and observes its rules 
fastidiously. Bi.i I he dinosaur inhabits a world 
without rules, a world before rules, a world 
untouched by anything human except 

30 OMNI 

magrial on. The; ciirosai.'' reveals the 
sequence of evolution: myth and mystery 
arc banished. But if faith is to be main- 
tained, a residuum of mystery must remain, 
hence the quest for "living anomalies" 
must invariably Ian the shameless excuses 
are integral to the genre. 

There are many cryoiozoologica! 
movies — The Thing, The Creature From the 
Black Lagoon, and Jaws qualify, as do 
certain episodes o" Jacques Cousteau. 
What makes Baby, the.new Disney movie, 
a curiosity is its cmss-loi I izirg oi genres: 
the cryplozoo ogical toray with ihe anthro- 
pomorphic comedy o' manners. In brief. 
Baby concerns a fami : y of mokele-mbembe 
(Papa. Mama, and Baby], a good paleon- 
-.oloc/sf (Sean Young), and an evil one 
(Patrick McGoohan). In the course of evenls 
Papa dies: Mama and Baby survive, at 
lirsi m capt'.vity. later returning to the 
enfolding jungle. True to its cryptozoologicai 
side. Baby incudes he assumption of 
living anomalies, the journey to the dark 
continent, and the gathering of evidence 
needed to convince a skoo:ical oublic. 
From the teddy-bear side, Baby features a 

Baby a cryp:ozooiog<C3! comedy o' 

family of dinosaurs "i;-:i rttSHB ate as human, 
specifically American families do. 

Monsters in monster movies are used 
■sparingly, conServfrig ne c i Ite, but the 
psychology of Gaby is different. The 
dinosaurs are the major characters. Disney's 
solution to Baby s special special-effects 
problem was io supplement 'he man- 
in-the-rubber-suit strategy with the puppet 
and the quarler-scale-miniature approach. 
The cast of dinosaurs is consequently 
extensive: four Babies — one mechanical, 
two with people inside, and one driven 
by remote control — plus two puppet heads 
for close-ups; one lull-scale 60-foot Mama: 
four mobile, quarter-scale Mama minia- 
tures; two detachable Mama heads and 
necks; and a body on a forklift for traveling 
shots of her back: one full-scale Papa; 
four Papa minia;u'cs. :wo detachable heads; 
and one extra tail. 

According to Isidore Raponi, who 
designed and built the dinosaurs, Baby 
had to "sniff, smile, cry, be sorry, happy, 
angry, sick. We used human beings," 
Raponi continues, "because you can control 
humans — tell them what to do. The problem 
was just to adapt the human's structure 
to the animal's. We had to find people who 
would not shift too much when they walked 
but who walked very straight and solidly. 
We tried more than one hundred fifty people 
to find ihree good ones, and those three 
had something in common: They practiced 
karate. The karate made them very coordi- 
nated." And in the end the walking Baby is at 
least as convincing as E.T. was, that is to 
say, convincing enough that we suspend our 
disbelief and empathize with the character. 

This is due partly to Raponi's mastery, 
partly to film editor Howard Smith's judicious 
cutting of the numerous angles he was 
provided. Long takes enhance credibility. 

Finally, the quality of Raponi's conception 
and execution was substantiated by the 
awe it inspired. -For example, a village chief ' 
who saw Mama lying on a flatbed truck 
■ permitted the film crew to cut a road through 
the nearby |ungle Io transport her to the 
location. Said the chief a few days later 
when he viewed the finished road; "I didn't 
know a dead animal could eat so many 
trees." The cryptozoologicai side. DO 



By Terence Dickinson 

■ ears of studying something as 
^J unremarkable as the shape of 

■ ^ craters on the surface of Mars have 
turned up two significant facts about the 
planet and its satellites. One is that Phobos 
and Deimos, the two tiny moons of Mars. 
may be the last survivors of a family of 
ancient satellites — perhaps dozens of 
them — that once whirled around the red 
planet. The second fact is that the skin, or 
outer crusf. of Mars underwent a dramatic 
change about 3 billion years ago. 

The evidence for Martian moons turned 
up while planetary geologist Peter Schullz, 
of Brown University, was analyzing the 
shapes of the planet's craters. Of the 
thousands of craters now found on Mars, 
only a few — 170 to be exact— do not have 
the typical circular crater shape. Instead 
they are more oblong in appearance, 
like bathtubs. By doing a statistical analysis 
of random impact on a celestial bqdy in 
our part of Ihe solar system, Schultz has 
concluded that obiong craters anywhere are 
extremely rare. 

Most craters are made by asteroids and 
comets traveling in from elsewhere in the 

solar system. The angle at which they strike 
(almost a right angle) makes the standard 
circular indentation. To gouge oul the 
kind of oblong mark that characterizes the 
peculiar Martian craters, the impacting 
body would have to strike at an angle less 
than 5", Schultz notes. And that would 
be a rare trajectory for a comet or asteroid. 
What could make such a mark, he 
suggests, is a moon of Mars spiraling down 
toward the planet from a decaying orbit, 
What made the craters, he suggests, was 
either debris from a single large satellite 
al least 150 miles in diameter, from several 
Martian moonlets, or from a swarm of 
srnaile" satellites. 

In any case, most of the elongated craters 
are ancienl — 3 billion years old or older. 
"In about 10 million years another one will be 
created when Phobos, now circling Mars 
in a deteriorating orbit, eventually plunges to 
the planet's surface and blasts out an 
elliptical basin about the size of Houston. 

Equally intriguing is another finding that 
came out of examining how these 
elongated craters are orienied. The truly 
ancient ones are situated along a north— 

■e Phobos: Bathtub c 

s suggest it's the last of a dying breed. 

south axis, and the newer ones (formed 
during the last 3 billion years or so) are 
aligned on an east-west axis. Did something 
happen 3 billion years ago? 

Schultz and other Mars experts think so. 
It was around thai time that the planet was 
going through massive geologic 
upheaval: The Tharsis plateau, a huge 
deposit of lava on one side of that world, 
was being born. 

Today rising above the plateau are 
Olympus Mons (a 15-mile-high volcano 
estimated to be Ihe largest in the solar 
system) and three other volcanoes that 
helped form the plateau. The theory is that 
the enormous amount of lava extruded 
onto the Tharsis plain by Olympus Mons 
and the other volcanoes built up such 
a huge amount of material that it made Ihe 
planet lopsided and caused the entire 
crust of Mars to make a dramatic shift. 

The crust "of Mars is one solid piece, unlike 
Earth's, which is made of several plates. 
Once the Tharsis plateau was formed, 
it caused the entire Martian crust lo slide 
sideways. The phenomenon was compara- 
ble to rotating the skin of an orange without 
changing its interior. Eventually the 
momentum of this shift slowed and then 
stopped when the slab of volcanic material 
positioned itself near the Martian equator. 
By then (he skin of the planet had been 
rotated 90°. 

The laws of celestial mechanics predict 
that all Martian moons should stabilize 
in 'near-equatorial orbits within a few million 
years. Thus, when gravity determines 
their doom, each moon should spiral down 
to eventually hit the planet at its equator. 
This in fact is what has been happening 
throughout She history of the red planet. If 
the Martian crust reoriented itself, as Schultz 
and the others suggest, then the bathtub- 
shaped craters that formed after the 3- 
billion-year upheaval should be at right 
angles lo Ihe earlier ones. And that is 
exactly what has been seen. 
. Although i! all ties together rather nicely, 
Schultz is the first to admit that the theory's 
true test will come afler future spacecraft 
have done more detailed reconnaissance of 
the Martian surface, which will tell us more 
about the planet's past. DO 



■ tephen Wolfram was disgusied. A brilliant young the- 
oretical physicist— an Oxford graduate at eighteen, a 
I California Institute of Technology Ph.D. at nineteen, a 
"prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellow at twenty- 
one — Woltram had taken a faculty job at Caltech, where, among 
other things, he helped develop a commercially valuable com- 
puter-software package called the Symbolic Manipulation Pro- 
gram. But a proprietary dispute developed among Wolfram, the 
company he helped form to market the program, and Caltech 
itself, with each faction claiming ownership. When Caltech refused 
to abandon its claim, Wolfram left the university and is still consid- 
ering taking the matter to court. 'According to Caltech's own by- 
laws," Wolfram maintains, "I own the damned thing." 

The Wolfram case is the cause celebre in what has become a 
series of acrimonious disputes between university faculty and 
administration over the issue of intellectual property. Basically, the 
question is, If in the course of his research, a university scientist 
develops an idea that has commercial value, who owns that idea? 
Is it the researchers themselves, who provide the ingenuity and 
the labor, or is it the university, which presumably provided (or 
helped provide) the equipment and the money? 

Millions of dollars a year are generated by products developed 
by university faculty, and these products usually fall into one of two 
legal pigeonholes: patents, which traditionally cover outright me- 
chanical inventions or physical processes; and copyrights, which 
until recently covered only textbooks and educational materials. 
In each case, the policies of most universities were clear-cut: In 
general, patents belonged to the university, with the inventor shar- 
ing in the profits on a percentage basis, while copyrights for books 
were owned solely by their faculty authors. 

All this was fine until computer software came along. "Software, " 
says spokesman Robert Byers, of MIT, "falls somewhere in the 
cracks between copyright and patent. It's not quite a machine, but 
it's not quite a book either." But despite a 1979 Supreme Court 
ruling that temporarily placed computer programs under copy- 
right law, Byers— and other university administrators — are begin- 
ning to argue that software looks more and more like "hard" inven- 
tions. "What makes a piece of software different from a book, " says 
Byers, "is that to write it, you generally need mainframe computers, 
which universities have and individuals don't." 

Many researchers are taking the opposite position. Stanford 
computer scientist Brian Reid — who was involved in an ownership 
dispute with Carnegie-Mellon Institute over the Scribe program he 
developed while a graduate student there— calls the "mainframe" 
argument "vacuous.. I could have written a program like Scribe on 
a good personal computer in about the same time." 

In any case universities are now scrambling to redefine their 
ownership policies vis-a-vis software. In the wake of the Wolfram 
debate (which Caltech now declines to discuss), the university is 
reviewing its stand on intellectual- property policy. 'At present," says 
Caltech attorney Don Fowler, "we are treating computer programs 
like any other copyright item But some of our people think it will 
end up being treated like a patentable item" — meaning that the 
university will retain ownership. Carnegie-Mellon, MIT, and the Uni- 
versity of California are also reviewing their positions, and MIT, at 
least, seems to be leaning in the same direction as Caltech. 

Stanford is considered by many to be the bellwether institution 
as far as intellectual-property policy is concerned. (Stanford owns 
patents on both gene splicing and cloning, which produce more 
than $2.5 million a year in licensing revenues.) Its software stance 
is the first enunciated policy thai treats computer programs as 
patentable. In Stanford's case the university assumes ownership 
of software, then shares royalties on an equal basis with the inven- 
tor, his department, and his school. "I've heard very little flak from 
the faculty over the new policy," says Director of Graduate Studies 
Gerald Lieberman, "My impression is that they are satisfied." 

Apparently Lieberman hasn't been listening to his own com- 
puter scientists. Reid calls Lieberman's assertion "a pile of crap. I 
don't know anybody here who works with software who thinks the 
policy is anything but a disaster." 

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the intellectual-property 
dispute is what can in some cases be a wide gulf between uni- 
versity policy and university practice. "When 1 left Caltech and 
started considering other job offers," says Wolfram (now at the 
Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton), "one of my stipulations 
was a letter stating that my future employer would have no rights 
at all to any intellectual property I generated. At almost every uni- 
versity — even those who said their policy was to assume owner- 
ship of intellectual properly — they said that in my case they would 
be pertectly willing to overlook their own policy, " — BILL LAWREN 


Que to limited supply 


TODAY ther 

open***** *"] 

driving negf- J 

If a certain microbe has its way, oil shoriages may go the way 
of the dinosaurs. In fact, oil reserves may multiply live times. 


Landlords and other oil 
users may be singing love 
songs to a certain bacterium 
in years to come. The mi- 
crobe excretes a polymer that 
lets oil companies exploit 
crude-oil reserves five times 
more effectively, offering a 
long-term supply of oil. 

Heavy crude oil is five 
times as plentiful as light 
crude. Most of it, however, is 
left in the ground by drillers 
because it is too thick and 
sluggish to pump. If mixed 
with water, the tarlike oil 
simply separates and floats 
on top, as in salad dressing, 
unless so many costly chemi- 
calsare added that the 
whole operation becomes 

The microbes have come 
to the rescue, however, with a 
polymer that is an emulsand. 
Mixed with other chemicals 
and added to an oil-water 
mixture, it coats every oil 
droplet to form an encapsu- 
lating seal. This prevents 
the oil'from coagulating. The 
result is a slurry that is easily 
pumped along pipelines 
and that can be burned in 
36 OMNI 

ordinary furnaces. 

Genetically engineered at 
Tel Aviv University, it is being 
marketed in the United 
States by a small firm called 
Petroferm Fuels. The biopoly- 
mer may be useful as well 
for removing unwanted 
oil tram hands or for dispers- 
ing oil spills from the surface 
of the sea. 

But it's the promise of 
multiplying oil reserves a 
staggering live times that has 
marketing manager Greg 
Wilson excited: "We could be 
an extremely large, multi- 
million-dollar company in a 
very short time!" 

— Anthony Liversidge 

"All creative effort—including 
the making of an omelet- 
is preceded by destruction. " 
—Y't-Fu Juan 

"No one can forbid us (he 
future. " 

— Inscription on the base 

of Paris's monument 

to Leon Gambetta 

"Perhaps the best thing 
about the future is that it only 
comes one day at a time. " 

. — Dean Acheson 

oihe-i s- 


"Open the pod-bay doors, 
' al." The astronauts in 

rthur C. Clarke's 2001; A 
Space Odyssey were able to 

e electronic 
d them. 
>ard NASAs 
be able 
to do much the same Voice- 
actuated automation is 
being designed into the 
space station. 

"There will be times when 
a crew member will be so 
busy that he'll need a 'third 
hand." ' says Al Wetterstroem, 
the NASA engineer in charge 
ol the space-station crew- 
control mockup at Johnson 
Space Center near Houston. 
"That's when voice-actuated 
systems will be necessary." 

Imagine a crew member 
working at the space station's 
control center, using both 
hands to guide the remote 
manipulator arm (like the 
Canadarm o! the space shut- 
tie) as it delicately repairs a 
malfunctioning satellite. 

"Move the actuator to the 
left." says the astronaut. 
his hands already busily 
guiding other remotely con- 
trolled instruments. The 
arm's jointed end moves 
slowly leftward "More . . . 
more . . . stop." 

And the arm stops at the 
astronaut's command. 

Voice -actuated systems 
are in their infancy today. 
Computers are usually con- 
trolled through a keyboard 
or a mouse or by a touch- 
sensitive screen. 

"It's a iob to teach the 
computer to understand an 
individual's voice," says 
Wetterstroem: "Each person 

speaks a little differently." 
But by the early Nineties, 
when the space station is 
scheduled to begin opera- 
tions, voice-actuated com- 
puters willoe available. 
Wetterstroem is convinced. 

The space station will 
carry more computer power 
than any previous NASA 
vehicle— at least 16 mega- 
bytes of memory capacity. By 
contrast, the space shuttle 
Columbia carried only 64 
kilobytes on its first flights. 

Although the station is 
being designed today, NASA 
will probably establish 1987 
as the cutoff time for new 
technological developments, 
which means the station 
will start operations with the 
newest hardware available. 

But that is only the begin- 
ning. NASA expects the 
station to remain in operation 
for 25 to 30 years, and the 
engineers will be upgrading 
the equipment aboard it 

Does that mean that, like 
the astronauts in 2001. the 
space-station crew members 
may one day face:a com- 
puter that can mutiny? 

"That's where we part with 
science fiction." says Wetter- 
stroem. — Ben Bova 


For most of us, music is 

what Longfellow called 
the universal language. But 
for a few people, some kinds 
of music are literally bad 
vibes. They are victims of 
musicogenic epilepsy, a 
condition in which seizures 
are triggered by music. 
Fortunately, there have been 
fewer than 100 reported 
cases of musicogenic epi- 
lepsy since the affliction was 
formally named in 1937. 

One recent example is a 
th i r ty-o n e -y e ar- o I d J ap anese 
man who had what could 
be called rock-and-roll epi- 
lepsy. The man complained of 
pain on the right side of his 
face combined with involun- 
tary eye blinking whenever 
he listened to rock music 
played on a tape recorder. 
The pain, he said, was like an 
electrical shock radiating 
up the side of his face. The 
blinking and pain disap- 
peared when the music 
stopped.'and daily doses of 
an antiepiiepsy drug also 
ended the symptoms. 

Even stranger is the case 

of a two-year-old boy who 
suffers epileptic seizures 
whenever he sings to himself 
or talks in rhymes, Those 
are the only triggers of his 
unique form of musicogenic 
epilepsy: hearing his own 
tape-recorded singing, oddly 
enough, does nol cause 
seizures. Doctors have not- 
been able to cure him yet. 
Singing and listening to 
rock music are not the only 
culprits in musicogenic 
epilepsy. There's even a pub- 
lished report of a minister 
who had epileptic attacks 
whenever he played "Now 
Thank We All Our God" on the 
church organ. — Joel Davis 

"What's time? Leave Now for 
dogs and Apes! Man has 

—Robert Browning 

"Evolution is what it is. The 
upper classes have always 
died out; it's one o! the' most 
charming things about 
them. " 

— Germaine Greer 

"I find that I am attwo with 

. —Woody Allen 


He was a pillar ot the 
community, a fifty-four-year- 
old man who had received 
an award for dedication 
as coach of a Little League 
baseball team. On the side, 
though, the coach was 
running a sex ring for pubes- 
cent boys, inviting ihem to 
his house, then emerging in a. 
samurai outfit and engaging 
them in sex acts that ranged 
from mutual masturbation 
to sodomy and sadism. 

Psychiatric nursing profes- 
sor Ann Wolbert Burgess, 
of the University of Pennsyl- 
vania, has recently completed 
a study of the aftereffects 
of 11 such sex rings on 
66 child victims. A few of the 
children, she found, had 
managed to emerge from the 
experience with no lasting 
traumatic effects. The major- 
ity, though, underwent 
changes in behavior that 
bordered on the terrifying: 45 
children were troubled with 
vivid dreams, flashbacks, 
and violent nighttime fears; 41 
showed what Burgess called 
"diminished responsiveness 
to others and to the environ- 
ment." ("I want to wear a 
paper bag over my head," 

said one child.) Among other 
victims, there was an in- 
crease in fighting and in such 
risk-taking behavior as 
jumping from roofs, weaving 
bicycles through heavy 
traffic, and holding onto the 
bumpers of moving cars. 

Perhaps most surprising 
was the tendency of some 
victims to identify with the 
adults who had exploited 
them. These kids resented 
the intrusion of authorities 
and felt sorry for the adult who 
was arrested. In fact, at 
least one boy became an 
exploiter himself, raping a girl 
who refused his advances, 
then brutally beating her with 
a hammer. 

To date, none of these 
children have had psychiatric 
treatment. "We can only 
hope," says Burgess, "that 
therapy will someday allow 
them to return to a normal 
life." — Bill Lawren 

"Some people say that She 
heart is the organ with which 
we think and that it feels 
pain and anxiety. But it is not 
so. Men ought to know that 
from the brain and trom the 
brain only arise our pleasures, 
joys, laughter and tears. " - 
— Hippocrates 



The human nose recog- 
nizes up to 1 ,000 different 
smelis and identities combi- 
nations of those smells as 
such familiar odors as Chi- 
nese food or Thanksgiving 
turkey dinner. This keen 
oifactory sense is actually 
accomplished with a handful 
of gas-sensitive nasal sen- 
sors, the olfactory receptors, 
which send off signals that 
are processed and then 
stored by the brain, 

A robotic nose, based on 
the human model, is now 
being developed at the Ro- 
botics Institute of Carnegie- 
Mellon University, in Pitts- 
burgh. "Our ultimate goal is 
low-cost, mass-produced, all- 
purpose noses that can be 
used anywhere and that 
are trainable," Carnegie-Mel- 
lon robotic -nose researcher 
Paul Clifford says. 

Instead of human olfactory 
•eceptors, the Camegie- 

Better cybernetic noses will 
improve your robot's cooking. 
33 OMNI 

Mellon robotic nose consists 
of a bunch of tiny, gas- 
sensitive semiconductors 
(actually bits of various 
corroded metals wired with 
microcircuilry) that detect a 
given smell by reacting to 
its gases. In the presence of 
a specific gas, certain semi- 
conductors send electric 
impulses to a computer, the 
brain of the robotic olfactory 
system. Depending on 
which semiconductors emit 
an impulse, the computer 
can determine the gas (or 
gases] present. 

"The trouble arises when- 
ever there is a complicated 
environment with many 
different gases," Clifford ad- 
mits. But even though the 
still-flawed robotic nose has 
a long way to go. Clifford 
says, it will someday make 
an ideal air-pollution watch- 
dog and will revolutionize 
mass-production methods lor 
drugs, chemicals, and proc- 
essed foods. And, he says. 
the robotic nose will enable 
robot servants to cook without 
burning meals. 

— Eric Mishara 

"You dozed, and watched the 
night revealing/The thousand 
sordid images/Of which 
your soul was constituted. " 

—T. S. Eliot 

"The concept of entropy is 
by no means restricted 
(o mechanical situations. The 
unfortunate (ate oi Humpty 
Dumpty is an example of 
a drastic entropy rise of quite 
a different system. His de- 
mise from a highly organized 
whole egg to one that was 
completely scrambled was 
also highly irreversible." 

—Robert Jahn 

We know salmon ir? :r. (x.»k! *nspr : «;!T;r. ;nt-y .;/;■.' 3 3.'; their way 
back upstream. But da they need aerobic exercises earlier in life? 


Salmon, like people, seem 
to benefit from exercising 
regularly. II may at least help 
them swim to the ocean 
and escape from predators. 

For three years University 
of Washington fisheries 
professor Lynwood Smith 
has been giving a workout to 
hatchery-raised coho salmon 
on I he Oregon coast. The 
purpose of the experiment is 
to increase the number of 
adult fish that eventually re- 
turn to the hatchery after 
their sojourn at sea. 

In 1982 Smith made 40,000 
smolls exercise by placing 
them in small ponds 
equipped with recirculating, 
pumps. For two-hour periods 
".■■.■vice oaily, the pumps forced 
the fish to swim in order for 
them to stay in place. A con- 
trol group was not exercised. 
After ten weeks, tests showed 
that the exercised fish had 
more swimming stamina and 
increased appetites. 

After three more weeks of 
exercise, all the fish were 
released in a pond with 
moving water. The exercised 
"ish al. swam downstream 

in the bottom half of the 
pond, as if heading out to the 
ocean. By contrast, the 
control group swam at all 
levels of the pond, with half of 
them going upstream and 
half downstream. 

Smith believes if the fish 
had been released into 
an estuary, the exercised fish 
would have headed out to 
sea immediately, and more 
would have survived, while 
the controls would have 
stayed in the estuary for at 
least a week, rendering them 
vulnerable to predators. 

The ultimate measure of 
survival couldn't be gauged 
accurately because only 
20 salmon out of the 40,000 
returned to the hatchery 
in the winter of 1983. "Pre- 
sumably the fish starved to 
death because of warm 
water conditions," says Smith. 

Experiments by Scandina- 
vian scientists, however, 
demonstrated that the return 
rate of Atlantic salmon could 
be doubled through exer- 
cise. Smith and his 
colleagues are awaiting the 
return of 50,000 coho re- 
leased in the spring of 1983. 
— Joel Schwarz 


Lifelike dental robots that 

have rubber skin, plastic 
teeth, and bleeding plastic 
gums are the latest innovation 
in dental education. 

"These dental simulation 
units will make it possible to 
train better, more experi- 
enced dentists," Emory Uni- 
versity dentistry professor 
Frank Faunce says. He 
developed the robots with 
Stewart Rowberry and Doug- 
las Strain, also dentistry 
professors at Emory, in At- 
lanta. "Because of the reduc- 
tion in dental decay and 
periodontal infection during 
the last few years." Faunce 
says, "enough real-live 
patients on whom students 
can practice their skills have 
just not been available." 

Each of the dental robots 
actually consists of three 
separate heads mounted on 
a single, portable pedestal. 
Students can perform restor- 
ative dentistry (fill cavities, 
insert crowns or caps) and do 
gum surgery, as well as 
remove impacted wisdom 
teeth. The blood (actually 
aqueous dye) that spurts from 
each robot's gums adds to 
the realism. 

Within two years, Faunce 
says, each robot mouth 
will be outfitted with electronic 
sensors. This will make it 
possible for a computer to 
quickly analyze and critique 
the student's dental tech- 
nique. And it will allow for au- 
dio feedback (the robotic 
equivalent, of a human 
scream) that simultaneously 
signals the student as to 
how the dental procedure is 
going. — Eric Mishara 

Cougars can be hunted legally as sport or to profecr sheep. But 
using radio collars to track them down has created a controversy. 


When a hunter from the 
New Mexico Department ot 
Game and Fish killed a 
cougar and her two kittens 
because they had destroyed 
a rancher's sheep, federal 
officials and environmentalists 
were irate. 

A radio collar had previ- 
ously been put on the cougar 
so National Park Service 
researchers could track its 
movements, as part of an 
ecological study. The New 
Mexico Department of Game 
and Fish is supposedly co- 
operating in the study, but last 
May its hunter homed in on 
the radio's frequency to track 
the cougars down. 

"It was an unethical thing 
to do from a scientific stand- 
point," fumes animal ecolo- 
gistfvlilford Fletcher, of 
the National Park Service, in 
Santa Fe. "We're conducting 
a science experiment with 
the state game and fish 
people." he says, "and with 
our collars they're surrepti- 
tiously running down these 
lions and killing them." 

Cougars are not an endan- 
gered specie's, and in New 

Mexico they are hunted as 
sport game. One cougar 
sanctuary, the Guadalupe 
Mountains National Park, 
is adjacent to a number of 
sheep ranches, and the 
cougars that the hunter killed 
had destroyed sheep just 
yards outside that park. 

"This agency is charged 
with the responsibility of 
responding to sheep depre- 
dation by mountain lions," 
explains wildlife scientist Wain 
Evans, assistant director of 
the New Mexico Department 
of Game and Fish. "The 
particular way this specific ' 
situation was resolved, to my 
understanding, violated 
our agreement with the Park 
Service and wont happen 
again. But we will continue to 
pursue mountain lions by 
traditional means," he says, 
"whether they're wearing 
radio collars or not. That 
means using dogs. or traps 
when we have to." 

— Eric Mishara 

"Technology makes it possi- 
ble for people to gain control 
over everything, except 
over technology." 

— John Tudor 


Chiropractors, those 
nonmedical doctors best 
known for manipulating the 
spine, are sometimes de- 
nounced by the medical 
community as quacks who- 
just like to make people's 
bones go snap, crackle, and 
pop— offering little more 
ihan hand-holding comfort 
and glib words of assurance. 
The orthopedist, most of us 
are told, is the back specialist. 

But a recent survey of 
some 500 back sufferers 
nationwide showed that chi- 
ropractors outperform or- 
thopedists in relieving many 
kinds of back pain, as re- 
ported in Backache Relief 
(Times Books, 1985). 

Participants in the survey 
saw a total of 422 chiroprac- 
tors and 429 orthopedists 
(as well as many other kinds 
of practitioners). Their prob- 
lems included chronic lower- 
back pain, ruptured disks, 


neck pain, spinal osteoarthri- 
tis, and various spinal anom- 
alies such as scoliosis. 

For lower-back pain not 
caused by a ruptured disk, 
chiropractors had more to 
otfer their patients than 
orthopedists did. But manip- 
ulation alone was rarely 
the major reason for their 
effectiveness. The successful 
chiropractors used the gen- 
tlest farms of manipulation 
and augmented their hands- 
on healing with advice about 
exercise, lite-style (particu- 
larly stress management), 
and nutrition. 

Unfortunately, spinal 
manipulation otten proves 
disastrous for anyone in the 
throes of acute pain Irom 
a ruptured disk, giving or- 
thopedists the edge here, 
according to the survey. 
Overall, such rehabilitation 
specialists as physiatrists 
(doctors of physical medi- 
cine) offer the most help 
to disk patients. 

Chiropractic manipulation 
works well on neck pain, 
the study found, despite 
some risk ot injury from the 
treatment. More than halt 
of the chiropractors consulted 
for neck pain brought their 
patients relief, while only one 
tenth of the orthopedists 
could do the same, even 

For osteoarthritis, neither 
the chiropractor nor the 
orthopedist did much to help 
the patient. The same was 
true for pain associated with 
the spinal curvature called 
scoliosis. Survey participant; 
with these problems tound 
help from other kinds ot 
specialists, including yoga 
instructors and physical 
therapists. — Dava Sobel 

40 OMNI 


The solar system doesn't 
end at the orbit of Pluto, 
nor even at the edge of the 
more distant Oort Cloud 
of comets. In fact, its bound- 
ares can be said to stretch 
at least 1.5 light-years out — 
nearly half the distance to 
the nearest star. 

This is the conclusion of 
two astronomers: Roman 
Smoluchowski, of the Univer- 
sity of Texas, .and Michael 
Torbett. ofMurray State 
University, in Kentucky The 
two used computer simula- 
tions to determine how lar into 
space the suns gravitational 
influence would reach 

The two discovered that 
the galaxy's center and 
occasional passing stars or 
molecular clouds would 
be the only serious gravita- 
tional disturbances to a huge 
"zone ot stability" surround- 
ing the solar system. De- 
pending on an object's orbital 
tilt and distance, that zone 

can reach as many as 9 
trillion miles from the' sun, .or 
more than 1.5 light-years. 
The nearest star, Alpha 
Centauri, is 4.3 light-years 
distant. So the gravitational 
"fences" of the sun and 
Alpha Ceniauri. says Dr. Tor- 
belt, lie pretty close together. 

Torbett adds that his and 
Smoluchowski's results 
also strike a serious blow 
against the so-called Neme- 
sis hypothesis, that a star 
circling the sun occasionally 
drops comets, into the inner 
solar system, causing peri- 
odic extinctions on Earth. 
"This work, applied to thai 
hypothesis, suggests that 
Nemesis would be in an 
unstable orbit," Torbett ex- 
plained. — Joel Davis 

"New and stirring things are 
belittled because if they 
are not belittled, the humiliat- 
ing question arises. Why 
then are you not taking part 
in them''". 

~H. G Welis 


A backyard inventor has 
worked out a way of making 
plastic so strong that it can 
be used to make skyscrap- 
ers, aircralt, spaceships. 
bridges, dams, and even 

Robert A. Florentine devel- 
oped the method in his 
garage. He makes plastic 
twice as strong as steel in all 
three dimensions by weaving 
rapelike strands of glass- 
fiber "yarn" in multidimen- 
sional patterns on a special 
loom. The shapes are then 
"pultruded," or dipped in 
liquid resin, heated, and dried 
in a microwave oven. 

I beams can be spun 
rapidly at the rate of 300 feet 
per hour. The white or yellow 
material is a quarter the 
weight of steel and will cost 
about half as much to use, 
Florentine estimates. A two- 
inch-thick rod used as a whip 
would shatter a wooden 
desktop, he-says. "I don't 
want to sound like a snake-oil 
salesman, but its potential 
is mind-boggling!" 

His Magnaweave process 
can produce almost any 
shape industry demands, 
from I beams to entire aircraft 
wings. Boeing is building a 
test aircraft with 120.000 
pounds of the plasfic struc- 
tural paris in the fuselage. 

"You could have a luxury- 
size car with the light weight 
of a compact." says Floren- 
tine. Armor plate made out of 
the material would be strong 
enough for battleships. 
Prefab bridges in remote 
parls of the Andes, flown in 
by airplane, are another 
possibility. "You could build a 
space station by throwing 
up a loom and a pultrusion 
machine and weaving the 
shapes in space," claims 

Skyscrapers made of the 
plastic I beams would not wilt 
like candles in the sun or 
catch fire easily, according to 
Florentine. "It's drapes and 
furniture that make a towering 
inferno. Vinyl furniture burns 
at200°F and aluminum 
begins to soften at 750°F But 
this composite is inert, and 
even if uninsulated it won't 
char till 700 or 800 D F Steel 
melts at 1000°R" the ex- 
General Electric aerospace- 
research engineer points out. 

Florentine owns his pat- 
ents and looks set to become 
the plastic industry's Carne- 
gie. "We're talking maybe 
fifteen million to twenty million 
tons of structural steei a 
year that can be replaced 
with lightweight material." But 
the only change at home 
to date is that his workshop 
has moved from the garage 
to the basement. "My wife 
is asking when the money will 
start rolling in," he laughs. 
— -Anthony Liversidge 

This computer in the 1957 movie Desk Set is old-fashioned. 
But government computers may not be much more advanced. 


The U.S. government, 
which has a$12-bi!lion-per- 
year automated data-proc- 
essing budget, owns more 
computers (17,000 in all) than 
anyone else in the entire 
world. But because many of 
the computers are 
antiquated, billions of tax- 
payer dollars may be wasted 

"The average age of 
computer systems in private 
industry is less than three 
years," management consult- 
ant Lyman Dennis says, 
"but we found that in the fed- 
eral government the average 
age is nearly seven years, 
and in certain instances 
Ihe age is nearly twenty 
years." Dennis, a vice presi- 
dent of Whittaker Health 
Services, Inc.. in Los Angeles, 
analyzed the government's 
computer problems for 
the President's Private Sector 
Survey on Cost Control, 
which was organized by a 
group of corporations to 
advise the president on how 
to save money. 

Obsolete computers cost 
much more to maintain 
than new ones. Dennis ex- 
plains, because they break 
down frequently and are 
no longer repaired by manu- 
facturers: so the government 
must do all the maintenance 
itself. And bulky old com- 
puter systems require a lot of 
expensive floor space and 
costly climate controls that 
can often be avoided with 
new, efficient models. 

Cost- co nsci ou s b u reau - 
crats actually believe they 
save money by not buying . 
new computers, Dennis 
says, and even when they do 
cough up the money to 
make a purchase, the re- 
placement is often a discon- 
tinued model {bought at a 
bargain-basement price) that 
is obsolete by ihe time it is 
in service. 

"Our recommendation was 
that the government replace 
all computer units over 
five years old," Dennis says. 
By junking-all ihe obsolete 
hardware, he claims, the 
government would save a 
whopping $4 billion over 
three years. — Eric Mishara 


Each morning. Monday 
through Friday, you sit stewing 
in your car, caught in the 
rush-hour traffic jam. Well, 
relax, that heavy morning 
traffic prevents you from be- 
coming a highway fatality. 

"Traffic moves slowly, and 
the drivers are alert during 
the morning rush hours, 
so there is less chance of a 
fatal accident," says Sherman 
Stein, a mathematics profes- 
sor at the University of Cali- 
fornia at Davss- Indeed, the 
morning rush hours (6 to 
9 a.m.) are the safest times of 
the week to drive, according 
to the results of Stein's recent 
traffic-safety study. The most 
dangerous time is when 
the bars let out (between 1 
and 2 am) "One minute 
of driving at that hour, " he 
says, "is as dangerous as a 
whole hour of driving during 
the morning rush." 

Stein, a self-described 
"defensive driver." had 
a personal interest in learning 
the safest and riskiest times 
to drive. So using govern- 
ment statistics, he compared 
the total traffic fatalities for 
each hour to the number of 
cars driven (or traffic flow) at 
each hour. Then he com- 
puted the "risk factor," or fatal 
accidents per car on the 
road for every hdur of the 
typical week. 

Daylight hours are relatively 
safe, Stein says, but the 
evening rush hours are sev- 
eral times riskier than the 
morning rush hours, with fa- 
talities continuing to climb 
through the evening until the 
2 a.m. peak. "I try to avoid 
being out after midnight." he 
says.— Eric Mishara 


Harper at the bat: The 
ball, then pick it up agai 

s !o take your eye oil the 

within swinging range. 


"Keep your eye on the 
ball." That's the advice given 
to hitters by every coach 
Irom Little League to the bigs. 
But now along comes Uni- 
versity of Arizona engineering 
professor A. Terry Bahill to 
tell us that not only is it 
impossible for a hitter lo track 
a baseball from the time it 
leaves the pitcher's hand until 
it crosses the plate, but 
that most hitters take their 
eye off the ball in mid-flight. 

Bahill set up a series of 
laboratory experiments 
in which a plastic Wiffle ball 
was thrown at speeds up 
to 93 miles per hour (about 
the velocity of a Nolan Ryan 
fastball) to a series of batters 
who were equipped with 
special sensors around their 
eyes. The hitters ranged 
in skill from non-baseball- 
playing college students 
to Brian Harper, of the Pitts- 
burgh Pirates (now with 
the St. Louis Cardinals). 

Predictably. Harper did the 
best job" of tracking the ball, 
but even he lost sight of it 
at a point about five and one 
half feet from home plate. 
42 OMNI 

"The human eye," concludes 
Bahill, "is simply incapable' 
of tracking a fastball over the 
entire path of sixty feet, six 
inches [the distance from the 
pitcher's mound to home 

How, then, does anyone 
ever hit the damned thing? 
Bahill suggests (hat the better 
hitters train themselves, 
consciously or unconsciously, 
to take their eyes off the 
ball at some intermediate 
point, then pick it up again as 
it comes within range of the 
bat. He says tfiat Hall of 
Famer Ted Williams, who 
claimed he could actually see 
the ball hit the bat, "must 
have had a big jump in eye 

Several big-league clubs 
have expressed interest 
in using Bahill's test to screen 
minor leaguers for hitting 
potential. In the meantime, 
Bahill says, "I'd like to run 
tests that compare the track- 
ing abilities of a contact 
hitter, like Rod Carew, against 
a power hitler, like Reggie 
Jackson."— Bill Lawren 

Manic depression is a frus- 
tratin' mess." 

- —Jimi Hendrix 


Particle physicists push 
their powerful accelerators to 
increasingly higher energy 
levels in their search for 
traces of such exotic sub- 
atomic particles as quarks 
and gluons. Recently, though, 
they've begun to see evi- 
dence for subnuclear crea- 
tures that shouldn't exist— at 
least not according to stan- 
dard theories ot physics. 

An international group of 
scientists calling themselves 
the Crystal Ball Collaboration 
(named for the particle 
detector they use at the DESY 
accelerator in Hamburg, 
West Germany) recently an- 
nounced the discovery of 
a subatomic particle they're 
calling the zeta. It was the 
unexpected result of a pretty 
standard investigation of 
an already known particle, 
the upsilon meson. 

The zeta doesn't fit any- 
where in the standard sub- 
atomic zoo. but some physi- 
cists think it might be 
explained by the emerging 
theory of "supersymmetry," 
Crystal Ball member Elliott 
Bioom, of Stanford Universi- 
ty's Linear Accelerator, is 
still hesitant to talk about the 
zeta's significance: "We're 
right in the middle of another 
run of experiments, and 1 
think we should wait until 
those results are analyzed." 

Weird particles have 
also been detected at the 
CERN accelerator in Switzer- 
land, At least 11 inexplicable 
incidents have shown up 
in the last year, Physicists are 
calling them "anomalous 
events," but recent Nobel 
Prize-winner Carlos Rubbia is 

sure they are real. "There 
is no sensible way to explain 
the missing energy by known 
particles." he was quoted 
as saying in Science News. 

Rubbia. too, invokes su- 
persymmetry theories to 
explain the strange CERN 
results. The anomalous 
events may actually be the 
first sightings of a whole new 
class of creatures in the 
subatomic zoo, with the zeta 
particles being joined by 

lectrons, squarks, photinos, 
zuinos, and yes, winos. 

— JobI Davis 

"Language is a virus from 
outer space." 

—William Burroughs 

"To live alone one musl be 
either a beast or a god. " 

— Aristotle 

"Preachers are always pleas- 
ant company when they 
are off duty." 

— Mark Twain 

"Once there was a way to get 

back homeward." 

— John Lennon 

The fourth planet is 
the gateway to the mineral-rich 
asteroids and the 
superpowers' next frontier 






insians offered a 
-son who made 
ram a distant world. 
■rtians did not count; 
g the contest (ell 

years from 
with creatures 
: set oui to 
t the coming 

this would be 

now, we may well be spes 

on Mars— Eartlilings who 

colon. ze a new world. Ovf 

centuries, the blood-fed o'mai could be 

transformed into a gleaming, green-linled 

jewel, reflecting ire spread el human life 

across its suriace. 

Recent events have made such a vision 
more feasible than ever. After stoically waiting 
out the frozen budgets and icy political 
climale of the Seventies, the modern explorers 
of space have reason to hope, The success 
ol the shuttle. President Reagan's support of 
an orbiting space station, and even rumors 
of a new Soviet push deeper into the solar 
system bode well for a renewed U.S. 
commitment to Martian exploration. 

Mars is a sensible objective for several 
reasons. "It represents a subsiantial 
management goal thai would organize the 
development ol space for a long time to 
come," says engineer Thomas R, Meyer, 
president of the Boulder Center for Science 
and Policy, m Colorado "Mars is the gateway 
to the asteroids, a likely source of minerals 
in the future. It's also the most habitable 

The natural resources ol Mars could be 
turned into air and water in substantial enough 
quantities to nia*.c lilo a lot simpler for future 
inhabitants. The land would first have to 
be terraformed (made suitable lor human 
life), Though this could cost hundreds Of 
billions of doliars resulting real estate would 
be worth at least several trillion dollars, by 
currenl standards. 

It's possible that metals, and even 
diamonds, will be lound on Mars. Such 


mining, however, is unlikely. It would be more 
feasible to use Mars as a home base for a 
richly profitable asteroid-mining operation. 
But there are other scientific and practical 
reasons for a manned expedition. Science 
is not idle curiosity; it's the search to under- 
stand the operating rules of the planet, solar 
system, and universe. The roiling hills, steam 
vents, dry riverbeds, and polar caps on Mars 
contain unique records of the relatively re- 
cent past. 

Among the questions a Mars expedition 
might answer are some of the details of 
weather formation and the cause of ice ages. 
Because Earth, and probably the rest of the 
solar system, passes periodically through ice 
ages, such knowledge may prove crucial to 
human survival in centuries to come. 

The drive toward the red planet has never 
enjoyed a steady hand on the throttle. Be- 
tween 1960 and 1966 NASA awarded some 
60 contracts to study a Mars mission. By 
1971, however, the word had gone out from 
Washington headquarters: Don't even men- 
tion Mars. Any type of proposal for planetary 
exploration could jeopardize more immedi- 
ate goals. The fear was that NASA adver- 
saries in Congress would then claim that the 
space-shuttle program was just a foot in the 
door for more ambitious projects. The shut- 
tle — and perhaps even NASA itself — would 
then be in danger. 

As a result, early in 1976, when NASAs 
Outlook for Space Study Group outlined 
space-development goals for the rest of the 
century, its three -volume report devoted only 
a single paragraph to manned exploration 
of other planets. 

"Several years ago, we were having so 
much trouble making headway with existing 
projects that it didn't seem worthwhile to 
consider more ambitious programs," says 
Jeff Briggs, head of NASAs Solar System 
Exploration Committee. "But there were a lot 
of people around who remembered the way 
things had been in the early days of the 
space program and hoped that the enthu- 
siasm might return again." The dream of 
Mars exploration was kept alive by a tiny 
band of pioneers from the University of Col- 
orado, in Boulder. Called the Mars Under- 
ground, this handful of graduate students in- 
sisted that a manned expedition would 
"provide a focus for the growth of American 
science and technology." 

This grass-roots movement began during 
some lunchtime discussions in 1977, 
"Charles Barth, of the Laboratory for Atmos- 
pheric and Space Physics, agreed to sit in 
with us," explains Carol Stoker, then a Ph.D. 
candidate in astrogeophysics and now a re- 
search scientist at the National Center for At- 
mospheric Research. "He forced us to cal- 
culate the energy required to turn Mars into 
a habitable planet. And that convinced us it 
would be quite some time before we could 
develop the technology." 

Three years later, Stoker and a small group 
of other enthusiasts had created broad out- 
lines for a Mars journey. Encouraged by rep- 
resentatives from several aerospace orga- 
nizations, the core group solicited papers for 

46 OMNI 

a scientific meeting titled The Case for Mars. 

The conference, held in April 1981, was a 
success even though — or perhaps be- 
cause — it lacked any official sanction from 
notables in the space community. In a slightly 
carnival atmosphere, participants wore small 
red buttons labeled mars underground. 
Nearly 100 people attended workshops and 
panel discussions on mission strategy, 
spacecraft design, life support, materials 
processing, and the social and political 
preparations that would be needed for a 
major Mars program. 

In the past three years, the movement has 
burgeoned, partly because of NASAs suc- 
cesses in space and partly because of other 
events. Geologists have found a meteorite 
that is probably a piece of Mars itself. The 
powertul Planetary Society, led by Carl Sa- 
gan, has put aside long-standing ideologi- 
cal qualms about manned spaceflight and 
set up a Mars Institute to sponsor classes 
and research on topics relevant to a Mars 
expedition. The society cosponsored a sec- 

^Science is not 
idle curiosity; it's the search 

to understand 
the rules of the universe. The 

polar caps and 

dry riverbeds of Mars contain 

unique records of 

the relatively recent past.^ 

ond Colorado conference, held last July, 

Some headway has been made in Wash- 
ington, too. For example, Congress ap- 
proved start-up funding for an unmanned 
polar-orbiting satellite called the Mars Geo- 
chemistry/Climatology Orbiter (MGCO). And 
recently completed studies show that an un- 
manned sample-return mission could be 
accomplished for about $2 billion by the end 
of the Nineties. 

Not everyone favors a Mars mission. Many 
scientists and astronauts would prefer to see 
a thorough. con quest of the moon before be- 
ginning a foray to Mars. If we are to put a 
permanent base on another part of the solar 
system, the moon has a lot to recommend 
it: It's easier to reach than Mars, easier to 
resupply, and its scientific importance is 

"But if you try to do a really extensive sci- 
ence program on the moon," Stoker says, 
"you could soak up so much money that it 
would block a Mars mission for many years." 

Ultimately, Mars may appeal more to our 
pioneer spirit. Says Arthur C. Clarke: "The 
moon, though an essential stepping-stone 
to space, is only an otfshore island of Earth. 
But Mars, a planet nearly as large as our 

own in terms of land area, is the first of the 
new worlds." 

One undertaking need not exclude the 
other. According to Michael Duke, head of 
geosciences at NASA's Johnson Space 
Center, in Houston, a lunar base could pro- 
vide us with the confidence we need to build 
a self-sustaining Mars base. Duke suggests 
using the moon as a test site for developing 
technology to be used later on Mars. 

It seems that the greatest boost for a 
manned Mars mission may come, inadvert- 
ently, of course, from the Soviet Union. Cos- 
monauts have pushed on with long missions 
in space; Valeriy Ryumin has made two six- 
month flights in quick succession. A trip to 
Mars would take only ten months. 

Furthermore, a new Soviet superbooster, 
called the Saturnski, is ready for use; USSR 
spokesmen predict the appearance of nu- 
clear-powered upper stages, similar to 
NASAs NERVA program (nuclear engine for 
rocket vehicle application), which was 
aborted in 1973. Two separate Soviet space- 
shuttle programs are in progress. One in- 
volves a small two-man spaceplane, the 
other a Columbia-class orbital freighter, 
dubbed the Shuttleski. 

Soviet scientists have also unveiled new 
successes in the development of life-sup- 
port technology. Spacecraft will carry plants 
to provide air and food for far-voyaging cos- 
monauts. Only a Mars mission or some 
equivalent requires this kind of self-con- 
tained system. With such efforts gathering 
steam within the Soviet space program, we 
could be seeing manned expeditions to Mars 
by the end of the century and permanent 
bases shortly thereafter. 

Are American space enthusiasts chal- 
lenged by these developments? Apparently 
so. When the Underground conducted a five- 
day meeting last summer, the space estab- 
lishment joined in. NASA, in a startling about- 
face, even sent an official delegation to brief 
the conference and cheer it on. 

Humboldt Mandell, a budget expert from 
the Johnson Space Center, was among those 
who paid tribute to the success of the Mars 
Underground. "These conferences do for 
NASA what NASA cannot do for itself," he 
declared. "They help give direction to efforts 
[now under way]." 

Tom Paine, a former NASA administrator, 
went even further. "What we need above all 
is a flexible, evolutionary, technically sound, 
long-range plan— just what this conference 
can best develop." 

To derive the most information from a visit 
to the red planet, humans, as well as robots, 
must do the exploring. Douglas Blanchard, 
of the Johnson Space Center, recently de- 
scribed an exercise in robot-versus-manned 
planetary sampling. NASA scientists took as 
an example the Apollo 15 landing site at ■ 
Hadley Rill: The astronauts had driven seven 
miles, stopped at five spots, and collected 
70 samples— all in eight hours. A hypothet- 
ical robot sampler, designed to duplicate 
those accomplishments, would have taken 
more than five months of activity. The exer- 
cise provided a strong argument for getting 


The first men on Mars 

were stolid scientists, but that didn't stop them 

from wanting to dream 



They were out- 
side, unlashing 
the Mars lander, 
when the slorm blew up. 

With Johnboy and 
Woody crowded against 
his shoulders, Thomas 
snipped the last lashing. 
In careful cadence, the 
others straightened, lilting the ends free of 
the lander. At Thomas's command, they let 
go. The metal lashing soared away, flashing 
in the harsh sunlight, twisting like a wounded 
snake, dwindling as it fell below and behind 
their orbit. The lander floated free, tied to the 
Plowshare by a single, slim umbilicus. John- 
boy wrapped a spanner around a hex-bolt 
over the top strut ot a landing leg and gave 
it a spin. Like a slow, graceful spider leg, it 
unfolded away from the lander's body. He 
slapped his spanner down on the next bolt 
and yanked. But he hadn't braced himself 
properly, and his feet went out from under 
him in a slow somersault. He spun away, 
laughing, to the end of his umbilicus. The 
spanner went skimming back toward the 
Plowshare, struck its metal skin, and sailed 
off into space. 

"You meatballs!" Thomas shouted over the 
open intercom. The radio was s'harp and 
peppery with sun static, but he could hear 
Woody and Johnboy laughing. "Cut 'it out! 
No skylarking! Let's get this done," 

"Everything okay out there?" asked Com- 
mander Redenbaugh, from inside the 
Plowshare. The commander's voice had a 
slight edge to it, and Thomas grimaced, The 
last time the three of them had gone out on 
EVA. practicing this very maneuver. John- 

boy had started to horse 
around and had acciden- 
tally sent a dropped lug- 
nut smashing through the 
source-crystal housing, 
destroying the laser link 
to Earth. And hadn't the 
commander gotten on 
their asses about that: 
NASA had been really pissed, too— with the 
laser link gone, they would have to depend 
solely on the radio, which was vulnerable to 
static in an active sun year like this. 

It was hard to blame the others too much 
for cutting up a little on EVA. after long, 
claustrophobic months of being jammed to- 
gether in Ihe Plowshare, but the responsibil- 
ity for things going smoothly was his. Out 
here, he was supposed to be in command. 
That made him feel lonely and isolated, but 
after all, it was what he had sweated and 
strived for since the earliest days of flight 
training. The landing party was his com- 
mand, his chance for glory, and he wasn't 
going lo let anybody or anything ruin it, 

"Everything's okay, Commander," Thomas 
said. "We've got Ihe lander unshipped, and 
we're almost ready to go. I estimate about 
twenty minutes to separation.'' He spoke in 
the calm, matter-of-faci voice that tradition 
demanded, but inside he lelt Ihe excitement 
building again and hoped his pulse rate 
wasn't climbing too noticeably on the read- 
outs. In only a few minuies. they were going 
to be making the first manned landing on 
Mars! Within the hour, he'd be down there. 
where he'd dreamed ol being ever since he 
was a boy. On Mars. 
And he would be in command. How about 


that. Pop, Thomas thought, with a flash of 
irony. That good enough for you? Finally? 

Johnboy had pulled himself back to the 

"Okay, then," Thomas said dryly. "If you're 
ready, let's get back lo work. You and Woody 
get that junk out of the lander. I'll stay out 
here and mind the store." 

"Yes, sir, sir," Johnboy said with amiable 
" irony, and Thomas siyheu. Johnboy was okay 
bul a bit of a flake— you had to si! on him a 
little from time to time. Woody and Johnboy 
began pulling boxes out of the lander; it had 
been used as storage space for supplies 
they'd need on the return voyage, to save 
room in Plowshare. There were jokes cracked 
about how thoy ought to let some of the 
■crates of flash-frozen glop that NASA 
straight-facedly called food escape into 
space, but at lasr. burdened with boxes, the 
fwo space-suited figures lumbered to the air 
lock and disappeared inside. 

Thomas was alone, floating in space. 

You really were alone out here, too, with 
nothing but the gaping immensity of the uni- 
verse surrounding you on all sides. It was a 
little scary, but at fhe same time someihing 
lo savor alter long months of being packed 
into the Plowshare with three other men. 
There was precious little privacy aboard 
ship — out here, alone there ■■.■vas nothing but 
privacy. Justyou, the stars, the void . . .and, 
of course, Mars. 

Thomas relaxed at the end of his tether, 
floating comfortably arc watched as Mars, 
immense and ruddy, turned below him like 
some huge, slow-spinning, rusty-red top. 
Mars! Lazily, he let his eyes trace the familiar 
landmarks. The ancient dead-river valley of 
Kasei Vallis, impact cralers puckering its floor 
. . . Ihe reddish brown and gray of haze and 
frost in Noctis Labyrinthus, the Labyrinth of 
Night. . .the immense scar ofthe Vallis Mar- 
ineris, greatest of canyons, stretching two 
thirds of the way around the equator . . . the. 
greal volcanic constructs in Tharsis . . . and 
there, the- Chryse Basin, where soon they 
would be walking. 

Mars was as familiar to him as (he streets 
of his hometown— more so, since his family 
had spent so much time moving from place 
to place when he was a kid. Mars had stayed 
a constant, though. Throughout his boy- 
hood, he had been obsessed with space 
and with Mars in- particular ... as if he'd 
somehow always known that one day he'd 
be here, hanging disembodied like some 
ancient god over the slowly spinning red 
planet below. In high school he-had done a 
paper on Martian plate tectonics. When he 
was only a gangly grade-school kid, tenor 
eleven, maybe, he had memorized every 
available map of Mars, learned every crater 
and valley and mountain range. 

Drowsily, his thoughts drilled even further 
back, to that day in the attic of the old house 
in Wrightsiown, near McGuire Air Force 
Base — the sound of jets taking off mingling 
with Ihe lazy Saturday aflernoon sounds pf 
kids playing baseball and yelling, dogs 
. barking, lawn mowers whirring, the rusty 
smell of pollen coming in the window on the 

52 OMNI 

mild, spring a;r when ho'd discovered an 
old, dog-eared copy of Edgar Rice Bur- 
roughs A Princess of Mars. 

He'd stayed up there lor hours reading it, 
while the day passed unnofoed around him, 
until the light gol so bad thai he couldn't see 
the type anymore. And that night he'd sur- 
reptitiously read it in bed, under the covers 
with a pencil flashlight, until he'd finally fallen 
asleep, his dreams reeling with giant, four- 
armed green men, thoats. zitidars, long- 
sword-swinging heroes, and beautiful prin- 
cesses ... the Twin Cities of Helium ... the 
dead sea bottoms lil by the opalescent light 
of the two hurtling moons ... the nomad 
caverns of the Tharks, Ihe barbaric riders 
draped with ghhenr.g jewels and rich riding 
silks. For an instant, staring down at Mars, 
he felt a childish disappointment that all of 
that really wasn': waiting down ihere for him 
after all, and then he smiled wryly at himself. 
Never doubt that these childhood dreams 
had power — after all, one way or another, 
they'd gotten him here, hadn't they? 

<kThe storm slowly 
and relentlessly blotted out 

the entire 

surface of the planet. The 

- ' lesser features 

went first, then the greater 

ones. Finally even 

Olympus Mons disappeared.^ 

Right at thai. mo ,v, -oni Ihe sandstorm be- 
gan tc blowup. 

It blew up from the hard-pan desen.s and 
plains and as Thomas watched in dismay, 
began to creep slowly across the planet like 
a tarp being pulled over a work site. Down 
there, winds moving at hundreds of kilome- 
ters per hour were racing across the Martian 
surface, filling the sky with churning, yellow- 
white clouds of sand. A curtain storm. 

"You see that, Thomas?" the command- 
er's voice asked in Thomas's ears. 

"Yeah," Thomas said glumly. "I see it." 

"Looks like a bad one." 

Even as they watched, the- storm slowly 
and relentlessly blotted out the entire visible 
surface of the planet. The lesser features 
went first, the scarps and rills and stone 
fields. Ihen Ihe greater ones. The polar caps 
went. Finally even the top of Olympus 
Mons— Ihe tallest mountain in the solar sys- 
tem — disappeared. 

"Well, that's it," the commander said sadly. 
"Socked in. No landing today." 

"Son of a bitch\" Thomas exploded, feel- 
ing his stomach twist with disappointment 
and sudden rage. He'd been so close. . . . 

".Watch your language, Thomas," the 

commander warned. "This is an open chan- 
nel." Meaning thai we mustn't shock the Vasi 
Listening Audience Back Home, Oh, hor- 
rors, certainly not. 

"If it'd just waited a couple more hours, we 
would have been able to get down there — " 

"You ought to bo glad i' didn't." the com- 
mander said mildly.""Then you'd have been 
sitting on your hands down there with all that 
sand piling up around your ears. The wind 
can hit one hundred forty miles an hour dur- 
ing one of those storms. I'd hate to have io 
try to sit one out on the ground. Relax, 
Thomas. We've got plenty of time. As soon 
as the weather clears, you'll godown.lt can't 
last forever." 

Five weeks later, the storm finally died. 

Those were hard weeks for Thomas, who 
was as full of useless energy as a caged 
tiger. He had become overaware of his sur- 
roundings, of the pervasive, sour human 
smell, of the faintly metallic taste of the air. It 
was like living in a jungle-gym factory, all 
twisting pipes and narrow, cluttered pas- 
sages, enclosed by metal walls that were 
never out of sight. For the first time during 
Ihe long months of Ihe mission, he began to 
feel seriously claustrophobic. 

But the real enemy was time. Thomas was 
acutely aware that the inexorable clock of 
celestial mechanics was ticking relentlessly 
away . . . that soon the optimal launch win- 
dow for the return journey to Earth would 
open and that they must shape for Earth then 
or never get home at all. Whether the storm 
had lifted yet or not, whether they had landed 
on Mars or not, whether Thomas had finally 
golten a chance to show off his own partic- 
ular righleous stuff or nor, when the launch 
window opened, they had to go. 

They had less than a week left in Mars 
orbit now, and still the sandstorm raged. 

The waiting got on everyone's nerves. 
Thomas lound Johnboy's manic energy par- 
ticularly hard to take. Increasingly, he found 
himself snapping at Johnboy during meals 
and "happy hour," until eventually the com- 
mander had to take him aside and tell him 
lo loosen up. Thomas muttered something 
apologetic, and the commander studied him 
shrewdly and said, "Plenty of time left, old 
buddy. Don't worry. We'll get you down there 
yet!" The two men found themselves grin- 
ning at each other. Commander Reden- 
baugh was a good officer, a quiet, prag- 
matic New Englander who seemed to 
become ever more phlegmatic and un- 
flappable as the tension mounted and 
everyone else's nerves frayed. Johnboy ha- 
bitually called him Captain Ahab. The com- 
mander seemed rather to enjoy the nick- 
name, which was one of the few things that 
suggested that there might actually be a 
sense of humor lurking somewhere behind 
his deadpan facade. 

The commander gave Thomas's arm an 
encouraging squeeze, then launched him- 
self toward the communications console. 
Thomas watched him go, biting back a sud- 
den bitter surge of words that he knew he'd 
never say ... not up here, anyway, where 
the walls literally had ears. Ever since Sky- 

lab, astronauts had flown with the tacit 
knowledge that everything they said in the 
ship was being eavesdrooped orvand eval- 
uated by NASA. Probably before the day was 
out somebody back in Houston would be 
making a black mark next to his name in a 
psychological titress dossier, just because, 
he'd let the waiting get on his nerves to the 
point where the commander had had to 
speak to him about it. But damn it, it was 
easier for the rest— they didn't have the re- 
sponsibility ol being NASA's ioken Nigger in 
the Sky. with all the white folks back home 
waiting and watching to see how you were 
going lo fuck up. He'd felt like a third wheel 
on the way out here — Woody and the com- 
mander could easily fly the ship themselves 
and even take care of most of the rouiine 
' schedule of experiments — but the landing 
party was supposed to be his command, his 
chance to finally do sc-e'h ng other than be 
the obligatory black face in the NASA pho- 
tos of Our Brave Astronauts. He remem- 
bered his demanding, domineering, hard- 
driving father saying to him, hundreds of 
times in his adolescent years, "It's a white 
man's world out there. If you're going to make 
it, you gol lo show lhat you're better than any 
of them. You got to force yourself down their 
throats, make them need you. You got to be 

twice as good as any of them " Yeah, Pop, 

Thomas though*, you bet, Pop . . . thinking, 
as he always cic of the one and only time 
he'd ever seen nis fa:her stinking, slobber- 
ing, falling-down drunk, Ihe night the old man 
had been passoc over lor promotion to brig- 
adier general for the third time, forcing him 
into, mandatory retirement. First they got So 
give you the chance, Pop, he thought, re- 
membering, again as he always did, a car- 
toon by Ron'Cobb that he had seen when 
he was a kid and that had haunted him ever 
since; a cartoon showing black men in space 
suits on the moon — sweeping up around the 
Apollo 58 campsite. 

" "We're-losing Houston again," Woody said. 
"I jes eain't keep the signal." He turned a 
dial, and the voice ot Mission Control came 
into the cabin, chopped up and nearly obli- 
terated by a hissing static that sounded like 
dozens of eggs frying in a huge iron skillet. 
". . . read? ... not read you . . . Plowshare 
. . . losing _. ." Sunspol activity had been 
unusually high x>r weeks and .usl a few hours 
before, NASA had warned ".hem about an 
enormous sols- flare ;nai was about to flood 
halt ihe solar system with radio noise. Even 
as they listened, Ihe voice was completely 
drowned out by static; the hissing noise kept 
getting louder and louder. "Weh-ayl," Woody 
said glumly, "that .does it. That solar flare's 
screwing everything up. If we still had the 
laser link" — here he flashed a sour look at 
Johnboy, who had the grace-to look embar- 
rassed — "we'd bo okay. I guess, but withou/ 
it . . . weh-ayl, shit, it could be days before 
reception clears uo. t-Vee/is, maybe." 

Irritably, Woody flipped a switch, and the. 
hissing static noise slopped. All four men 
were silent for a moment, feeling their sud : 
denly increased isolation. For months, their 
only remaining contact with Earth had been 

54 OMNI 

a faint voice on the radio, and now. abruptly, 
even that link was severed. It made them 
feel lonelier than ever and somehow farther 
away'from home. 

Thomas turned away from the communi- 
cations console and automatically glanced 
out the big observation w.noow at Mars. It 
took him a while lo notice that there was 
something different about the view. Then he 
realized that the uniform, dirty yellow-white 
cloud cover was o'caKing up and becoming 
slreaky, turning the planet into a giant, mot- 
tled Easier egg Slewing taria izmg gfmpses 
of the surface. "Hey!" Thomas said, and at 
the same time Johnboy crowed, "Well, well, 
lookie there! Guess who's hack, boys!" 

They all crowded around the observation 
window, eagerly jostling one another. 

As they watched, the storm died all at 
once, with the suddenness of a conjuring 
trick, and the surface was visible again. 
Johnboy let out an ear-splitting rebel yell. 
Everyone cheered. They were all laughing 
and joking and slapping one another's 

'•Ever since 
Skylab, astronauts had 

flown with 
the tacit knowledge that 
, ■ everything they 
said in the ship was being 

eavesdropped on 
and evaluated by NASA3 

shoulders, and then, one by one,, they fell 

Something was wrong. Thomas could feel 
the short hairs O'-ck : ng orec; along his back 
and arms, feel the muscles of his gut tight- 
ening. Something was wrong. What was it? 
What . . .? He heard the commander gasp, 
and at the same time .realization broke 
through into his conscious mind, and he felt 
Ihe blood draining from his face. 

Woody was the'first to speak, 

"But . . ." Woody said, in a puzzled, al- 
most petulant voice like a bewildered child. 
"But . . . that's not Mars." 

The air is thin on Mars. So thin it won't hold 
up dust in suspension unless the wind is 
traveling at enormous speeds. When the 
wind dies, the dust falls like pebbles, last 
and all at once. 

After live weeks of storm, the wind died. 
The. .dust fell. 

Revealing enlirely the -wrong planet. 

The surface was still predominantly a 
muddy reddish orange, but now Ihcre were 
large mottled patches of green and grayish 
ocher. The surface seemed softer now, 
smoother, with much less rugged relief. It 

took a moment to realize why: The craters — 
so very like those on the moon both in shape 
and distribution — were gone, and so were 
most of the mountains, the scarps and rills, 
the giant volcanic constructs. In their place 
were dozens of fine, perfectly straight blue 
lines. They were bordered by bands of green 
and extended across the entire planet in an 
elaborate crisscrossing pattern, from polar 
icecap to polar icecap. 

' ic-.ni'i .'i.'i-o anything." Woody was saying 
exasperatedly "What happened to every- 
thing? I eain't even see Olympus Mons, for 
Christsake! the nigges: : u<;king volcano in 
the solar system! Where is it? And what the 
fuck are those lines?" 

Again Thomas felt an incredible burst of 
realization well up inside him. He gaped at 
the planet below, unable to speak, unable to 
answer, but Johnboy did it for him. 

Johnboy had been leaning close to the 
window, his jaw slack with amazement, but 
now an odd, dreamy look was stealing over 
his face, and when he spoke, it was in a mat- 
ter-of-fact, almost languid voice. "They're 
canals," he said. 

"Canals, my ass!" the commander barked, 
losing control of his temper for the first time 
on the mission. "There aren't any canals on 
Mars! That idea went out with Schiaparelli 
and Lpwell." 

Johnboy shrugged. "Then what are 
those?' he askee mildly, jerking -us :ri..mb 
toward the planet, and Thomas felt a chill 
feather up along his spine. 

A quick visual search turned up no rec- 
ognizable surface features, none of the 
landmarks familiar to them all from the Mar- 
iner 9 and Viking orbiter photomaps — al- 
though Johnboy annoyed the commander 
by pointing out that the major named canals 
that Percjval Lowell had described and 
mapped in the nineetenth century — Stry- 
mon, Charontis, Erebus, Orcus, Dis — were 
there, just as Lowell had said that they were. 

"It's go; to be the sandstorm that did it," 
Thomas said, grasp ng cesperately for some 
kind of rational explanation. "The wind mov- 
ing the sand around from one place to an- 
other, maybe, covering up one set of surface 
features while at the same t me exposing an- 
other set. . . ." 

He faltered to a stop, seeing the holes in 
that argument even as Johnboy snorted and 
said, "Real good, sport, real good. But 
Olympus Mons just isn't there, a mountain 
three times higher than Mount Everest! Even 
if you could cover it up with sand, then what 
you'd have would be a fucking sand dune 
three times higher than Everest. . .but there 
don't seem to be any big mountains down 
thereat all anymore." 

"I know what happened," Woody said be- 
fore Thomas could reply. 

His voice sounder;; so si range that they all 
turned to look at him. He had been scanning 
the surface with the small optical telescope 
tor the Mars-Sat experiments, but now he 
was leaning on the telescope mounting and 
staring at them instead. His eyes were fe- 
verish and unfocused and bright and 



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r5ar/y explorers believed this Utah 
skyline was the sculpted work of a lost civilization 



Rising from the desolate landscape like [he fossilized tins ol some 
long-dead, giant fish, these sandstone monoliths in southeastern Utah 
were once thought to be artifacts of a lost civilization akin to the Maya 
or the ancient astronomers of Stonehenge. The early explorers of Ihe 
region, now Arches National Park, found themselves in a sculpture 


garden of graceful arches, spires. 

and precariously balanced rocks. 


in salmon and buff tones. It was 
easy to envisage this incredible 
terrain as the crumbling skyline of 
some ancient cify or the aban- 
doned playground of a race of 
giants. It seemed too intricately 
planned and styled to be natural 

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Nowadays geologists credit the 
remarkable architecture of the red- 
rock region of Utah, home of the 
largest concentratpn of natural 
arches on fhe planet, to other forces, 
primarily the movement of a salt 
bed that lies beneath these stone 
structures. Thousands of feet thick, 
the salt bed is the floor of an inland 

sea thai cove'ea the area acou". 300 million years ago. After' the sea 
evaporated, leaving tne salt behind, floods and wind deposited sand 
over the dry seabed, which later compressed into sandstone. But as the 
sandstone layer grew— iii some places a mile thick— the salt bed be- 
neath it began to buckle and shift from the weight. It is this subsurface 
movement, sometimes turning enormous slabs of rock almost on end, 
that formed the gross features of the monoliths. The fine details, however, 
were fashioned by wind, rain, and extremes of temperature — the relent- 
less sculpting of weather, begun perhaps 100 million years before hu- 
mans walked the earth. And weather, being a restless artist, will continue 
its work until the last delicate arches and spires have vanished, DO 

QFashioned by the violent forces of nature, this landscape is a sculpture garden of red stoned 


n surface in 1976, the mother < 
of them photographed a seemingly unremarkable 
stretch of desert. Three i 

, Vincent DiPietro and Gregory Mole- 
naar, then affiliated with NASAs Goddard Space 
Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland, came 

Qn the shadow of the 

largest pyramid (below) was the tracery ol a 

honeycomblike structured 

across the image of a face on Mars and of a 
nearby simcture resembling a pyramid. In 
their off-hours they applied their consider- 
able expertise to enhance the more subtle 
details of the images. Though the face was 
said io exist only in one Viking phoio, the two 
discovered a second phc:o ol Ihe face, made 
35 days later at what they said was a differ- 
ent sun angle and time of day. By applying 
sophisticated image-processing tech- 
■niques.lo the second image, DiPietro and 
his partner discoveroc "ha; the face was truly 
symmetrical. II had two halves, each con- 
taining an "eye," a "cheek," and an appro- 
priate continuation of the "mouth." Most pro- 
vocative, in the first photo, they discovered 
what resembles an cyeoal with a visible pupil 
in the eye socket. Their conclusion, after 
studying all these data, was that this neat 
symmetry raised a "doubt that nature was 
totally responsible" for the image. (See "Face 
in Space," April 1982.) 

Science writer Richard Hoagland had 
known of DiPielro and Molenaar's work, and 
after receiving a copy of original photos of 
the face, he discove.-ed wha: may be Ihe key 
to its origins and its reasons for existing — 
what he calls the city. In interpreting addi- 
tional features in the original Viking pholo 
(number 35A72), he claims to have found a 
clue to a lost civilization on Mars. 

The focus of his attention is a collection- of 
surface features located to the west of Ihe 

Overleat: Viking photos ol a pyramid (at left 
in inset photo) and a structure known as- the 
fotiress (color enhanced), due west of the 
face. Were they built by an alien intelligence? 

66 OMNI 

face. Among them is a gndhke oa'.te-r o : 
-eel linear markings Iiks ihe layout of a city. 
He also spotted a series of right angles con- 
tributing to an ovcra, impression oi a rna.n 
avenue leading toward the face. 

Alter a few minutes of work with a ruler 
and protractor Heag ! ard ciscovered that this 
main "avenue" seems to be aligned in a 
special way with the face, which itself runs 
along a northeast- sou :hvves; axis Using in- 
formation suppled oy Ma ; s experl William 
Ward, Of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory 
in Pasadena, California. Hoagland calcu- 
lated that about one half million years ago 
the face could have been aligned on a true 
north-south axis with the Martian poles. 
Back then, someone star-King in the center 
oi his -hypothetical ciiy. gazing, east toward 
the face, wou'c be s chtmg. along a solstice 
alignment. In other words, that Martian crea- 
ture would be seeing the sun rise directly 
over the face on the longest day of the Mar- 
tian year. Therefore, acccrc rig le no inex- 
orable laws of celestial mechanics, Hoag- 
land theorizes that for 50,000 years, 
someone could have seen the first summer 
sun T'so above "f-.e iace each year. As the 
planel t ited the alignment would disappear 
ior one half million years or so. then return. 

Closer inspeclion convinced Hoagland 
that there were a; leas" three additional sur- 
face features — which he calls structures — 
with what appear to be walls aligned on Ihe 
old north-souln axis He also noted theso- 
called pyramid, originally spotted by Di- 
Pietro and Molenaar and located on a hill 
southwest of the.lace. With a little more com- 
putation, Hoagland 'cured that his solstice 

viewing line would have oasscd right through 
Ihe top of the pyramid. 

The most controversial of Hoagland's 
Suggestions is that in the shadow of the pyr- 
amid exists honeycomblike tracery bearing 
an uncanny resemblance to the remains of 
a city. The region is a rough square meas- 
uring about one and one half miles on each 
side. With DiPietro and Molenaar's en- 
hancement, the "walls" were faintly visible. 

Although he admits it is possible these 
lines could have been by-products or 
glitches of the photo-enhancing process, 
Hoagland remains convinced that what he 
saw is actually there. For one thing, objects 
in the city cast shadows. For another, Di- 
Pietro and Molenaar claim they did not get 
these kinds of glitches with enhancements 
Oi aerial photos taken here on Earth. Finally, 
Hoagland says that there is no ready geo- 
logical explanation for rectilinear patterns of 
this scale on Mars. 

The grid spacing suspiciously resembles 
that of real city streets, and the layout is 
aligned toward Ihe winter solstice sunrise. 
An architect friend, Arthur Slopes, pointed 
out to Hoagland that [he buildings would 
have been oriented in a manner that would 
best use the scant winter warmth of the 
shortest day of the Martian year. 

Hoagland states that il someone were to 
stand in the center of this city and face east 
just before dawn, he would see Earth rising 
over the enigmalic face of Mars. The conclu- 
sion Hoagland has reached is simple and 
startling: that we are seeing ihe product ol 
intelligence at work. "Was it coincidence that 
one half million years ago [when a hominid 
known as Homo erectus was evolving here 
on Earth] celestial mechanics made the 
Martian summer sun rise over a remarkable 
likeness of man's image?" he asks. 

There are many who are tempted io say 
yes. Mars expert and NASA engineer James 
E. Oberg has challenged Hoagland's city- 
on-Mars thesis on several points. First, he 
disputes Ihe claim that two different photos 
of the iace, taken at different times of day 
and at different angles, prove the three-di- 
mensionality of the structure. 

"This is not in accord with my own re- 
search nor with DiPie'/oand Molenaar's own 
book [Unusual Martian Surface Features}." 
Both photos were taken from nearly identical 
anglesa little less than 36 Earth days apart. 
Convening the time to Martian days, Oberg 
computed that the photos were taken within 
two hours ol the same part of the day, sug- 
gesting lhat the shadow would not have been 
different enough to confirm the three-di 
rnensionality of the face. "So Hoagland's as- 
sertions just don't match the facts, " he says 
As for the coincidence ol the summer 
solstice sightline from the city to the mouth 


s as- 


Combien d'anneesl" Abe Rainier 
asked, knowing it pleased her 
when he could make a phrase of 
the nasal but melodious words she had 
been teaching him since he and Jacques 
had been assigned aboard her. Even ihis 
early into their third mission, he was begin- 
ing to feel mellowed by her young-old 
voice, her cognac, and the lounge's warmth. 
He intended to banter with her and make 
companionable small talk as usual when 
they, were together. The two middle-aged 
pilots and.lhe girl. But he was worried. 

"A woman doesn't tell her years, mon 
ami," Fawn answered in the cozy tone that 
guarded him against too much thought 
about the emptiness outside. 'And your 
accent's intolerable. This trip we're really 
going to work on it. Beaucoup." She let 
a short laugh slip from her throat, as a 
woman lets a strap slide from a shoulder 
or a tress fall over an eye. 

"It's hard to imagine a language older 
than Global, Fawnie." 

"There were more tongues than you 
could believe, mon ami." 

"How many of the dead languages do 
you know?" He took out a cigarette. 

"All languages are alive in me, Darling," 
purred the girl forever young, a survivor 
from the dawn of the modern world. "I'm the 
very blocks of Babel," 

"How long, really, have you been in 
Exploration Command?" He raised the cig- 



What's a pilot to 
do when his spaceship talis 
in love.with him? 

arette and touched it to his lips, smiling slyly. 

"You think I'm going to say how old I am? 
Mechant gargon." Sometimes when they 
talked in dim light, he thought he could see 
her as a bodily figure, at least a misty face. 
Its lips were smiling now. 

"Curiosity grows between the stars where 
nothing else will," he said. Each was the cat 
and each the mouse. "How many crews have 
been with you?" 

A chuckle from the depths of her elec- 
tronic throat. O'ne of her slender, many- 
jointed arms slid from the wall and ad- 
vanced through the comfortable dusk, a sil- 
ver fingertip glowing. Abe broke the impac- 
tolite tip off his cigarette so she could light it 
for him. 

'And a woman most certainly doesn't talk 
about her former . . . crews." She hesitated 
before crews, as if it might not have been 
the mot juste, the word that would have oc- 
curred naturally. 

"But my present crew, my darling boys. . ." 
she let Abe inhale while her fingertip cooled, 
"half of it seems to be missing." 

'Jacques's aboard," he said, worrying but 
making himself sound as he would if he were 
home in Paris, in bed with Eloise, nudging 
her earlobe with his teeth. 

Fawn started to say something, but it came 
to only a slight pip of static. He knew what it 
would have been: But he's always horny at 
the beginning of an expedition. 

"You'll see, as soon as he has his duds 
stowed, Jacques will come bursting into your 
chambre d'amour as hyped and horny as 
ever." Again he made his words belie his 
misgivings. But it was with a whole heart that 
he added, "I'll be over soon." 

He would, and not merely to bend her at- 
tention away from Jacques's absence. Even 
though it had been less than a day since he 
kissed Eloise and climbed up into Fawn's 
towering body, the knowledge that it was their 
job to explore as far from home as possible 
would grow relentlessly more intimidating. 
And even though the grimy angular mass of 
her fuel tanks made her as lumberous as a 
factory, she was still no more than a mote 
diving into the living apathy of space. Abe 
knew he — or any pilot, including Jacques — 
would need her bedchamber. 

Although it was only a combination of hal- 
lucinatory drugs and sensual devices, it was 
as important as Fawn's conversation, her 
fond, irrelevant lessons in the strange lan- 
guage, or .the poker, bridge, yahtzee, and 
other games she knew for making a pilot's 
time pass sanely. 

"Do you want to watch?" she asked as she 
retracted her arm and her screen came to 
life. She knew he did. Fiicking through a 
space contraction, being suddenly light- 
years away from the position of the previous 
nanosecond, was an inexpressible experi- 
ence, even if it was well-known from the pre- 
vious two voyages. 

He knew that the reddish star in the up- 
per-right corner was the one to watch to get 
the best effect It disappeared faster than a 
human eye could blink and was replaced by 
a disc around which he knew six planets 

72 OMNI 

were scattered. It was the same star, but an 
instant ago its light had reached them around 
a hundred light-year curve of space. The 
second planet was M arte I, whose surface 
Jacques had verified as wholesome for man 
by spending five minutes on its surface. Col- 
onists were there now, establishing a town 
and planting orchards. 

"Pretty good for a soi-disant girl, wasn't 
it?" she cooed. 

"You're" — he searched for a word — 
"merveilieuse, Fawnie." 

Jacques came into the lounge as she was 
dissolving twilight into night; the fluores- 
cents were just beginning to flicker. 

Her tone was too full of joy and genuine 
surprise for Jacques to have used her bed- 
chamber already. 

"Going to scrounge up a ten-thousand 
light-year contraction for us this trip, sweet 
lady?" He blew a kiss in the direction of one 
of her eyes. "I'm vibrating right down into my 
bones. We're going to get rich, I know it." 

6He was not 
worried about mechanical 

failure. It was 
. not that Fawn could not 

talk or open her 
bedchamber or prepare 

their meals. 
She was choosing not tQ,D 

"Wow," Fawn said. Then flirtatiously. "It 
must have been a dull leave for you to come 
back with all this energy. But you know which 
door is first on the left." 

'A beautiful leave." Jacques brisked his 
palms together. "Makes me feel damn lucky 
this trip. Besides, I need the money." 

Abe winced. "Because," he said, trying to 
keep his voice light but saying it now be- 
cause it would have to be said, 'Jacques is 
a married man." 

Fawn was as silent as she had ever been. 
For a long, miserable moment there was not 
a hum or squeak anywhere in the lounge. 
Finally, in a tone they had never heard, she 
asked. 'And is she quite the belle?' 

Abe forced a laugh and spoke before 
Jacques had a chance. "A busty pixie with 
a hot-to-trot little walk, about half Jacques's 
age, Fawn. She hasn't got even a fraction of 
what you have." 

'As if it were my business. I don't imagine 
a spaceship would invite a human to its 
wedding, either." 

The images of stars faded, and the screen 
went dark and stayed that way. Within an 
hour Abe had learned that the chambre 
d'amour was locked, 

"She loves you." Abe Rainier was leaning 
against a railing in a part of the ship leading 
away from the living area, which they had 
never had a reason or the urge to explore. It 
was a dim, empty hall, painted a severe 
green, and there was no evidence of an eye 
or an arm socket. They could be fairly cer- 
tain that she had no ears here. "She loves 
you, and the way she's acting is sympto- 
matic of womanhood." 

"That's bullshit, and you know it, Rainier. 
There's a fuse blown or some wires crossed." 
Jacques's fingers worried his belt. "I say let's 
turn this broken-down tub around and go 
home, before it blows up," 

"You turn her around, then." Abe had to 
laugh. Pilots had known nothing about ship 
operations for centuries. 

"Well, maybe we could rip out some 
wires — disable her. Then send an SOS." 

Abe shuddered. "You'd better figure out 
how to send it first. And even if we knew how 
to operate her radio, are you sure anybody 
would hear?" 

He took a gulp of the beer he had brought 
with him from the lounge. 'As far as I know, 
she's doing her job — exploring. Just be- 
cause she's stopped telling us where we are 
doesn't mean she hasn't discovered a new 
contraction. And until it's charted and mes- 
sage-relay deflectors are stationed, any 
message we send toward Earth would have 
to go the long way. Are you willing to wait a 
thousand, maybe ten thousand years? She's 
a jilted woman. Pouting. That's all." 

"Be sentimental over a machine then." 
Jacques spat on the polished floor. 

"Her body may be plastic and steel and 
her mind expanded almost infinitely, but she 
was a healthy girl when she had her skiing 
accident," Abe said. "And that girl core's still 
there, driving her desire to take care of us. 
Everything from the turn of our breakfast 
eggs to the illusions of her bedchamber 
grows out of that." 

He had always suspected that for Explo- 
ration Command's idea of integrating a hu- 
man's mind with a spaceship to work, there 
had to be a reciprocity of pleasure. If Fawn's 
body no longer had blood flowing through 
it, her imagination — her ability to place her- 
self into the illusions she created for them — 
had to be powerful beyond human belief. 

"That some of her ROM was in a girl who 
lived ninB centuries ago doesn't alter the fact 
that this machine's malfunctioning," Jacques 
said, slapping the wall. "We don't know where 
we are, we have to punch in our own menus, 
and her bedchamber door is locked, , , . 
We've got to do something." 

"Win her — her heart," Abe suggested. 

"My God, Abe, we're talking about a ma- 
chine, a traveling machine, a food machine, 
a fucking machine." Jacques caught his 
breath. "Even so, I've always played the 
game. And since she froze up, I've knocked 
my knuckles raw at that bedchamber door. 
I've even said I'm sorry." 

"Sorry is an easy word," Abe said quietly. 
"She knows you're acting. What would you 
say to your new wife if she found out you'd 


Rejecting the mystique 

of talent, this world-renowned 

expert on thinking says 

anyone can improve his creativity 

by learning to take 

unorthodox leaps of the imagination 


The hot Mediterranean sun g IPs [ho wlno Values and thick 
walls of the seventeenth-century Pala. 7 7a M ; r-ii; . ■-?s- eo 
■into a seaside hilltop in Malta. A scarlet dragonfly darts 
above rose goldlish in an ornamental pond, and at the bottom ot 
the garden two yourci coys splash ana shout in a blue pool. In a 
cool interior hall, a padded black door opens, and Dr. Edward 
Francis Charles Publius de Bono emerges, beaming, Casual in 
navy shirt and khaki slacks, no is supposed: 1 / on vacation but has 
been up since 6 a m., writing a new book. The theme is "a new 
approach to conflict resolution," a final solution to war and nuclear 
stalemate. In jus! eight days, working from a few pages of notes, 
he will type, without revision, a final draft, clean'except for a ■few 
typing flaws. De Bono's serenity is typical. Everything seems ef- 
fortless andunder control in his personal world, a relaxed prder m 
which creativity flourishes, The book is the twenty-third from this 


author, described m the handbook \o ast summer's Harvard Con- 
ference on Thinking as a "world aulhority on the teaching of think- 
ing and the Development ol creative thinking skills." 

The sold-out Harvard conference marked the coming of age ol 
a new trend in global education, a growing interest in teaching 
thinking as a skill. De Bono's invitation to give a solo address on 
theconference's final evening was a tribute to his pioneering work 
in the field. He has been thinking about thinking— how it's done 
and how to do it better— (or two decades, Though his methods 
are just now beginning to impinge on the U.S. educational system, 
they have been applied widely elsewhere They are used by tens 
of thousands ol executives in such multinational corporations as 
IBM and General Foods and by millions of schoolchildren in places 
as diverse as England. Bulgaria, and Japan. 

In the grandest public experiment in Ihe field to date, Venezuela 

has set out to teach thinking skills to all its 
schoolchildren, from Caracas to remote 
mountain villages. Luis de Machado, an 
idealistic Venezuelan poet, writer, and civil 
servant, is one who has been inspired by De 
Bono's books. He persuaded the Venezue- 
lan prime minister to appoint him the world's 
first minister of human intelligence. More than 
100,000 teachers were primed to teach 
thinking skills. Nearly all of them followed De 
Bono's basic methods. 

While the move elicited scorn and deri- 
sion from the press, the results have been 
impressive. And popular enthusiasm for the 
project ensured that it would survive a 
change of government. Venezuelan law cur- 
rently mandates that every school must 
spend two hours a week teaching thinking. 
One union wrote into its contract that training 
in thinking skills be provided to its members 
as a condition of employment. 

Characteristically, there's nothing overly 
complicated about the training. De Bono has 
achieved wide influence partly through the 
clarity of his books and the utter simplicity 
of the methods that he suggests will boost 
effective thinking and creativity in the aver- 
age person. A favorite technique, for exam- 
ple, is to "do a PMI," meaning that when 
faced with a suggestion, you first list all the 
"plus," "minus," and "interesting" aspects of 
the idea you can think of. Done by a group, 
this can result in a torrent of ideas that place 
the problem in a whole new perspective. An- 
other is to open a dictionary, choose a word 
at random, then try to relate it to the issue at 
hand — an artificial but effective means of 
digging up fresh solutions. 

If De Bono's hopes are realized — and his 
techniques adopted — average human 
thinking, he says, will improve dramatically 
over the next 20 years as more schools 
around the world take up these simple tech- 
niques. He doesn't confine his teaching to 
children, however. Based in London, he lives 
as much as nine months of the year in hotel 
rooms, flying some 200,000 miles annually 
to speak at seminars and conferences for 
businessmen, teachers, and civil servants. 
Last year the U.S. Defense Department in- 
vited him to open its first symposium on 
creativity. He had a prior commitment in Hel- 
sinki, but De Bono accommodated the Pen- 
tagon — by transatlantic telephone. 

De Bono's mission to elevate human in- 
genuity began 20 years ago, when he was 
a medical graduate student at Harvard. Born 
in 1933 into an upper-class family in Malta, 
De Bono earned an M.D. from the University 
of Malta by the age of twenty-one. As a 
Rhodes scholar, he went to Oxford, where 
he gained an honors degree in psychology 
and physiology, and a D.Ph. in medicine. A 
Ph.D. from Cambridge University followed, 
and then postgraduate work at Harvard. 

A specialist in the behavior of human bi- 
ological systems, the young De Bono dem- 
onstrated that a 25-cent whistle could test 
lung functions, replacing a $90 machine. He 
also devised a method that used a simple 
tube to test susceptibility to heart failure, 
thereby obviating an expensive photo- 

76 OMNI 

graphic recorder. Disappointed by his Ox- 
ford cognitive-psychology courses ("all rats 
and, mazes"|, his interest in the impalpable 
and elusive territory of mental processes was 
reawakened by the computers used in 
medical research. Specifically, he says, he 
became interested in the thinking that com- 
puters cannot do. 

But De Bono's real interest has been in 
analyzing winning thought processes; the 
lucid and accessible books he has written 
over the past 25 years explore this subject 
in many directions. The best known is New 
Think: The Use of Lateral Thinking in the 
Generation oi New Ideas, which sold 
400,000 copies in Japan, more per person 
than Love Story sold in the United States, he 
points out. In it he introduced his concept of 
lateral thinking, which the Oxford English 
Dictionary defines as "a way of thinking which 
seeks the solution to intractable problems 
through unorthodox methods," 

What De Bono specifically means by lat- 
eral thinking is a creative jump in the mind, 

6/ pointed out 
that God could not laugh 

because He 

has perfect knowledge. He 

cannot be 

surprised. It would be 

an insult to 

say that God could think$ 

a sideways leap away from the usual line of 
step-by-step, "vertical" logic used to solve a 
problem in a traditional manner. In thinking 
about a problem— designing a vehicle, for 
instance — the mind leaps to a seemingly 
unrelated idea; an orange, say. Then the 
mind builds' a path back toward the original 
idea. Suppose the vehicle has orangelike 
globes for wheels, which would enable it to 
mdve sideways into a parking space. Un- 
workable idea? Possibly. But De Bono points 
out that lateral, or creative, thinking, unlike 
traditional -vertical thinking, can include 
"wrong" steps on the way to a successful 

De Bono's message is that almost anyone 
can improve his own creativity by develop- 
ing some skill in lateral thinking. He rejects 
the "mystique of talent and intangibles" that 
surrounds the topic of creativity. "This is only 
justified in the art world, where creativity in- 
volves aesthetic sensibility, emotional reso- 
nance, and a gift for expression." One thing 
that makes his views on creativity more sci- 
entific than rival gurus' is that De Bono's ideas 
are based on a theory of how the brain works. 
First advanced 15 years ago in his book The 
Mechanism of Mind, the theory now looks to 

some as if it just might be the key to design- 
ing computers that think, 

De Bono suggests that the brain is a self- 
organizing information system, not an infor- 
mation-handling machine, like a computer, 
but a special environment designed so that 
when information flows into it, the brain au- 
tomatically forms patterns. Related units of 
information flow together— are in effect filed 
in the same box — without any active proc- 
essing at all on the part of the brain. Insight 
and humor occur when this unthinking, ha- 
bitual process is actively interrupted and a 
conscious link between previously unre- 
lated patterns is unexpectedly formed. 

Tributes to De Bono's influence come from 
friends and disciples as diverse as Britain's 
Prince Philip; Paul MacCready, a designer 
of man-powered aircraft; the Eurythmics rock 
group; and Peter Ueberroth, commissioner 
of baseball and organizer of the 1984 Olym- 
pic games. Despite its broad public impact, 
De Bono's work is disparaged by some ac- 
ademics who are uncomfortable that this ex- 
pert conducts no research. Few, however, 
attack his ideas directly, which is probably 
wise, as De 8ono is fond of deceptive prob- 
lems whose solutions look wrong at first sight. 

Among his more unusual books is The Dog 
Exercising Machine, which reproduced the 
drawings of children asked to dream up the 
device suggested by the title. His latest work 
is Tactics; The Art and Science ot Success, 
in which he analyzes interviews with promi- 
nent people to determine the celebrities' se- 
crets of success. 

When interviewed last August, De Bono 
was in the throes of working out his latest 
and possibly greatest idea, one that mighl 
conceivably save us all from nuclear holo- 
caust. Under the scheme, SITO, his newly 
formed Supranational Independent Think- 
ing Organisation, will serve as a conflict-res- 
olution center or "intellectual Red Cross, 
bringing governments fresh ideas from lal 
eral thinking when diplomacy fails and war 
threatens. SITO's formation has been wel- 
comed by international figures as well as by 
the U.S. State Department. 

Visited by Anthony Liversidge at the Pa- 
lazza Marnisi, his family's vacation villa and 
the planned site for SITO's meetings, De 
Bono proved a gracious host, as did his 
blond, attractive wife, Josephine. Sitting by 
the pool, he smilingly laid out themes refined 
by years of careful cogitation. 

Omni: Why do you believe that most hu- 
mans are ineffective thinkers? 
De Bono: We don't treat thinking as a skill, 
but tend to regard it as a matter of intelli- 
gence. Many highly intelligent people are 
rather poor thinkers, often arriving at a' view 
of a subject and then using thinking only to 
support that view. The trouble is, the more 
you construct a nice, coherent, rational ar- 
gument for one particular point of view, the 
less inclined you are to fully explore the whole 
subject. If you have a "right" answer, why 
look further? I call this pitfall the intelligence 
trap. Intelligence and thinking aren't the 
same. Very bright kids excel at reactive 


The planei Mars, .a world of 
stark, red rock and shifting 
dunes, has always captured the 
imagination. Its mythic 
grandeur was first revealed in the 
late 1700s, when the English 
composer and astronomer William 
Herschel turned his telescope toward 
the ruddy disc, identifying polar 
ice fields, moving clouds, and dark 
patches thought to be the Martian 
sea. By the 1800s. scientists said that 
lite had evolved not only on Earth 
but on Mars as well. And in 1894, the 
flamboyant astronomer Percival 
Lowell claimed he'd detected 
precisely engineered canals; "lines 
of individually uniform width, of 
exceeding tenuity, and of great 
length." Lowell's vision suggested to 
many a dying civilization and ancient 
cities crumbling in ruin. 

If there were a doomed civilization 
on Mars, of course, its creatures 
would certainly dream of inhabiting 
Earth, And in 1897. the great science- 
fiction writer H. G. Wells spun a tale 
about just thai. In his classic War 
of She Worlds, he wrote: "Across the 
gulf of space . . . intellects vast 
and cool and unsympathetic 
regarded this Earth with envious 
eyes, and slowly and surely drew their 
plans against us." Wells's fictional 
notion of the Martians attracted 
fervent believers well into this century, 
making it possible for a twenty- 
four-year-old named Orson Welles to 
orchestrate a modern-day radio 
play in 1938 based on H.G.'s gripping 



The canals, Lowell said, were like a spider's web seen against the grass of a spring morning^ 

story. "Ladies and gentlemen," some 6 million listeners were told, "those 
strange beings who landed in Ihe Jersey farmlands tonight are the van- 
guard of an invading army from ihe planel Mars." More than a million 
people were convinced that an invasion was under way. II seems unlikely 
that the listening audience could be similarly tooled today. Lowells ca- 
nals, it has been learned, are streaky, wind-blown dust deposits Analy- 
sis of the Martian soil reveals no (race ol organic material. But as the late 
Tim Mutch, leader of ihe Viking lander imaging team pointed out. our 
search for the true Mars has just begun. "Someday man will roam the 
surface of Mars," he said. "Those Viking machines will be placed in a 
museum, and children will struggle to imagine Ihe way it was." DO 



of the iace. Oberg admits that there was a 
time in (he Maf tian past when the planet's tilt 
was different. But he adds, "that till varies so 
much lhat practically any view to the north- 
east will coincide with some tilt at sometime 
in the Martian past." 

Another outspoken critic of the Hoagland 
thesis is Harold Masursky, senior scientist 
with the U.S. Goc:cgical Survey and one of 
the world's Ic-ac'irc expert; on Martian ge- 
ology. He headec ".he '-JASA group in charge 
of selecting the sites where the Viking land- 
ers set down. 

Concerning the face, Masursky says il is 
"interesting because it is a face, but it's in an 
area dissected by erosional agents— water 
and frost heavings. It's one of many thou- 
sands of little mesas on Mars, and many ol 
them are shaped by incipient faulting. Of 
these many mesas there are one or two that 
have lifelike features." 

And as for the pyramid structure in the re- 
gion of the c ■ 1 y. Iv'asursxy says, "It's a piss- 
poor pyramid. I; ooks Ifke an erosional prod- 
uct. In central Nevada I have found a pyra- 
mid, formed partly by stream erosion and 
faulting, that's better than that. If you're going 
to say fealures like lhat are evidence lor a 
past civilization, that's total nonsense." 

Masursky told Omni, "I'm working on find- 

ing landing sites 'or a possine Mars Rover. 
And this [the city on Mars] is not one of the 
areas where I would send what is probably 
a thirty-billion-dollar mission. In fact, if some- 
body brought us a free one, I'm not sure I'd 
send it there because there are too many 
other places that are more interesting." 

Interestingly, however, neither Oberg nor 
Masursky dismisses the possibility of intelli- 
gent life, or al leasl life, on Mars. "Ldo think 
thai the most likely evidence for extraterres- 
trial intelligence wi! be attracts we will stum- 
ble across," Oberg says, "and I doubt if they 
will be small. So searching for artificial struc- 
tures in space pictures is legit— as long as 
the facls and arguments are sound." For the 
time being, however, the most positive thing 
he is willing to say about the Martian-cily 
theory is that "It is quite a piece of folklore." 

Although he is doubtful any civilization 
thrived on Mars. Vasursivy remains an open- 
minded skeptic. Mars has had water as well 
as long periods of severe drought through- 
out its history, he explains. It is farther from 
the sun than Earth is, and its wafer was 
trapped as ice for much longer spans of time. 
All of this means thai fhere were fewer eras 
of favorable climate for intelligent life and 
civilizations to evolve. "But I cannot say there 
were no civilizations on Mars," he admits. "I 
just don't think it's very likely there were." 

In the meantime, Hoagland continues 
working in spile ol hcoiilicsms. He assem- 
bled a team of scientists under the title of 

the Independer Mars '-lvewgaiion Team to 
sludy his calculations and discoveries. After 
analyzing Viking orbiter photos, they re- 
ported at the Mars 1 1 conference in Colorado 
last summer that fhere were enough anom- 
alies to warrant further investigation. 

To do that, a second effort, called (he Mars 
Investigation Group, was begun. II is orga- 
nized under the direction of C. West Church- 
man and Tom Rautenberg, of the Interna- 
tional Program in Applied Systems Design, 
a! the University of California at Berkeley. The 
group has asked for and received image- 
data tapes from NASA and plans to assign 
16 images for analysis to four teams of sci- 
entists working out of some of the country's 
lop research centers. Experts al MIT's Arti- 
ficial Intelligence Laboratory; Bell Labs; Lu- 
casfilm Ltd.; and the Earth Satellite Corpo- 
ration, which analyzes Landsat images, will 
independently enhance and study the Vi- 
king photos. Rautenberg and his associate 
director, former astronaut Brian O'Leary, say 
they are making an effort to answer "an open 
scientific question." By the fall of 1985, he 
and the team will publish a lengthy technical 
report on their findings. 

"Now that we have gl rnpsed what may be 
wailing in our investigation of Mars," Hoag- 
land says, "we face the question, What else 
lies undiscovered or ignored on the Viking 
project's remaining one hundred thousand 
magnetically recorded images?" In the 
months to come, he plans to find ou'.DQ 

Taking another i 
oxygen from the pc 


inally. diagnosed as being 

building. SI™™.- 

it of a dickering light, and 
•' ' — ird muted laughter 


'•«fH» l f! 

of a man younger than sixty-two. Wearing 
thick glasses and speaking in a deep South- 
ern accent, he doesn't look or sound like a 
detective. But he thinks like one; "I've never 
been able to fool myself," he explains. "If I 
can't see all the way through something, it 
gnaws at me." 

His talent for medical sleuthing has led him 
to track down a cause of ill health that may 
be affecting millions. The culprit is a parasite 
that's transmiitec through ingestion and 
sexual contact and fueled by modern diet 
and certain drugs: the common yeast, Can- 
dida albicans. 

■ Candida is one of the many different spe- 
cies of yeast; Each has distinct characteris- 
tics. Candida thrives in warm-blooded ani- 
■ mals, for example, and brewer's yeast does 
not. Candida has a voracious appetite and 
multiplies rapidly. 

Furthermore, recent electron micro- 
graphs taken oi animal tissue reveal that 
Candida has the bizarre ability to change 
shape— to turn into a hard-edged arrow. 
Once transformed, it aggressively plunges 
far into the cells in mucous membranes, 
pushing the cells' own nuclei to one side as 
it enters. 

Despite these traits, Candida albicans 
appears to live in most of us as part of the 
normal body flora. Billions of friendly bacte- 
ria help the immune syste™ :o keep the yeast 
under control. When the Candida balance is . 
shifted slightly, the result can be a vaginal 
discharge or oral candidiasis (thrush), an 
aggravating but harmless white coating on 
the tongue. In the critically ill, the yeast can 
- run amok, entering the bloodstream and 
traveling to the heart, lungs, or brain, where 
it can cause deadly blood poisoning. 

Within the past few decades, however, 
levels of yeast have ire-eased dramatically 
in many people. Part of the reason may be 
that modern drugs and diets stimulate Can- 
dida growth. And after more than 20 years' 
of clinical observations revolving nearly 3,000 
patients, Truss is convinced that this yeast is 
implicated in a wide variety of human ills, 
from depression an.d hormonal distur- 
bances to allergic reactions and autoim- 
mune diseases. 

Truss is not alone in his conjecture. Uni- 
versity of California at San Francisco immu- 
nologist Alan Levin estimates that the health 
of one third of the U.S. population may be 
adversely affected ;o so~e degree by Can- 
dida albicans allergies. 

And while the medical community as a 
whole has remained noncommittal, several 
physicians other than Truss are questioning 
whether yeasi may play a role in conditions 
ranging from autism to AIDS. How did Truss 
come to his conclusions about chronic Can- 
dida albicans infection? And how could a 
common yeast be tiec :o IVichael's tragic in- 
ability to exist in the chemically laden twen- 
tieth century 9 

The trail of clues began one sticky August 
day in 1953."A physician went on a vacation 
to escape the Alabama heat, and Truss 
agreed to take over his hospital rounds. One 
patient was particularly troublesome. With 

86 OMNI 

wasted muscles and a gaunt, hollow face, 
the man appealed lo bo decry But the chart 
shqwed he was only in his mid-forties. Hos- 
pitalized since April , 'the patient was running 
a spiking fever and suffering from a cough 
and diarrhea. Every prominent physician in 
the city had struggled to make a diagnosis. 
There was only one thing that everyone 
agreed- on — the man was dying. 

As baffled as the other doctors, Truss 
asked the patient a new question: "When 
were you last completely well?" 

"February." the man answered weakly. He 
had been a robust mine worker until then. 

"I was working, and I cut my finger. But I 
didn't have time-to see to it; so I slapped a 
Band-Aid on it, It got red and sore. My doc- 
tor gave me some pills — antibiotics — for the 
infection." The man developed diarrhea 
shortly afterward, and his health began de- 

Truss searched for any evidence in the 
man's lab workups that might have been 
overlooked. He found that two sputum cul- 

»/; seemed that 
in some people, Candida 

might be 

interfering with the body's 


cells, which keep killer 

cells from 
attacking the organs.^ 

lures had repo.- too the presence of yeast — 
Candida albicans. This hardly seemed 
noteworthy; after all, Candida lives in every- 
one, and in severely debilitated people it 
often spreads to the mucous membranes. 

Truss thought back tc something that had 
happened' a few years ea-; er. when he was 
chief. resident at New-York's Bellevue Hos- 
pital. Testing some of the newest, broad- 
spectrum anl'.b'o'.ies en infection-riddled in- 
digents, he had seer inese patients "just ex- 
plode" with diarrhea. The antibiotics, he 
noted, killed oft the normal flora that usually 
' kept the body's yeast under control. He be- 
gan to wonder whether Candida could be 
responsible for his current patient's condi- 
tion. Instead of the man's weakened state 
causing the yeast to flourish, could the op- 
posite be trLO? Was Candida itself causing 
the man's ill' health? Rushing to the medical 
library, Truss founc two papers that reported 
using saturated potassium iodide solution lo 
treat Candida blood poisoning. 

"I thought we might as well give it a try. I 
put the man -on six to eight drops of potas- 
sium iodide four times a day," Truss recalls. 
'And you know, he went right on and got 
completely well." 

It was only after observing hundreds of 
patients over the years and digging for ex- 
planations for symptoms that had been 
dubbed psychosomatic that Truss began 
putting the Candida puzzle together. In the 
Sixties, Truss's interest in allergies intensi- 
fied; His son anc several o-t his oatients were 
suffering from astlima. He began traveling 
to Boston to study with allergy pioneer Ethan 
Allen Brown. Soon, Truss was treating an in- 
creasing number oi allergy patients. One day 
a woman with a stuffy nose and a throbbing 
headache came to see him. It was an inci- 
dent that would change the doctor's career. 

In addition to her allergy symptoms, the 
woman was seve-e.y depresseo and suffer- 
ing from vaginitis. Truss didn't think all her 
symptoms were related. But he recalled iso- 
lated reports in the medical literature that hay 
fever could be caused by an allergic re- 
sponse to Candida. Suspecting that her 
nasal congestion might be a reaction to a 
vaginal yeast infection, Truss gave the 
woman an allergy shot of Candida vaccine. 

As he hoped it might, her headache and 
congestion cleared rapidly. But something 
else also happened. Her depression van- 
ished. She smiled. 

In subsequent months, Truss was suc- 
cessful in treating other allergy patients who 
were also suffering from depression. "I de- 
cided then that I would like to treat a schiz- 
ophrenic patient who had a yeast infection, 
to see whether there would be any improve- 
ment in mental state. Bui I couldn't just go 
out looking for schizophrenics." Four years 
later, however, he had his chance. 

gies. Producing only an occasional yes or 
no, the patient stared blankly ahead while 
her Iriend gave Truss a medical history. Ex- 
cept for a fungus infection on her fingers, 
occasional vaoir'iis. and gastrointestinal 
upsets aggravated whenever she was given 
antibiotics — all signs of Candida over- 
growth — the woman had been well and rel- 
atively healthy until the age of twenty-six, 

Her psychiatrist assured Trussthat allergy 
treatment was not contraindicated. The 
woman had been treated for schizophrenia 
for six years, and she was about to be com- 
mitted to the state mental hospital. 

"She's had hundreds of electroshock 
treatments and massive dosages of thora- 
zine and other drugs," the psychiatrist said. 
"Nothing helps. You certainly can't do any 
harm by treating her sinus problem." 

After one week on Candida vaccine, the 
woman seemed more alert. Two weeks later, 
she was able to hold a conversation. She 
made a full recovery and has remained well 
and productive. Her psychiatrist, amazed, 
called Truss. 

"I told him all I tried to do was to clear up 
her allergies," Truss says. "I wasn't ready to 
reveal anything else about my thoughts on 
the yeast. It was beginning to look like this 
was going lo be too important to be pre- 
mature. I had to be extremely careful." 

Indeed, over the years, many of Truss's 

accomplishments began to sound like mir- 
acles: People who seemed to be "incurably 
ill" were restored lo health. To substantiate 
his theory. Truss siuaiec everything he could 
find on Candida albicans. And he realized if 
he were to fathom how the yeast could be 
producing serious disease, he would have 
to learn all he could about theendocrine 
system, brain chemistry, metabolic path- 
ways, and more. "It was hard work," Truss 
says. "I had to teach myself." He began 
plowing through stacks of journals and at- 
tending informal meetings held by immu- 
nologists from the University of Alabama 
Medical School. 

"There were all these academics, scien- 
tists, discussing the la:est f ndmgs in immu- 
nology, and here came th s lonely clinician," 
Truss recalls. "They didn't know what to make 
of me at first. And I just listened." 

Although he continued to keep his ideas 
to himself, Truss was becoming more con- 
vinced of Candida's connection to serious 
illnesses. Because the majority of the pop- . 
ulation has yeast present, lab tests aren't 
necessarily reliable indicators. So Truss 
made diagnoses of candidiasis based on 
patients' histories. With the diligence of a 
medical Sherlock Holmes, he sometimes 
spent two hours with a patient, tracing' the 
onset of an unexplained illness. 

And a pattern began to emerge: Many 
people reported they first became sick after- 
taking certain drugs, including antibiotics, 
birth-control pills (which alter the body's hor- 

n-oral balance anc st mulate yeas! g r n«;h>. 
and cortisone (wnich suppresses the im- 
mune system's ability to light the yeast). Diets 
high in carbohyrhaios and sugars, foods that 
Candida thrives on, seemed to exacerbate 
physical and mental problems. A member 
of the mold family, Candida can produce a 
cross-sensitivity to other molds and fungi. 
Truss lound that moldy environments and 
foods containing yeast and molds' (cheese, 
for instance) also initiated — or height- 
ened — patients' symptoms. 

Whenever he suspected that Candida 
might be playing a role in an ailment, Truss 
placed the patient on the nontoxic, antifun- 
gal drug nystatin and a low-carbohydrate, 
yeast-free diet. In severe cases, he added 
Candida albicans vaccine. His success was 
dramatic. Seventy-five percent of the pa- 
tients reported some relief from symptoms 
within a few weeks. Others took two to three 
years to recover fully. 

In all, the conditions that responded to the 
treatment composed a varied list — from 
gastrointestinal problems to allergic symp- 
toms including asthma and skin rashes. And 
such signs of hemona olockages as men- 
strual irregularities often cleared up. Chil- 
dren with learning disabilities and hyperac- 
tivity often showed improvement and 
sometimes returned to normal. One child, a 
normal one-and-one-half-year-old. had be- 
come autistic after taking heavy doses of 
antibiotics prescribed for ear infections. He. 
began talking again after his doctor, who had 


heard of Truss s work, started treatment for 
Candida. His parents had spent $50,000 in 
medical fees in their search for a cure. 

In 1970 the mystery of yeast-produced ill- 
ness grew more complicated. A young 
woman asked Truss whether her multiple 
sclerosis could in some way be related to 
her yeast allergies'. 

"She had been diagnosed as having M.S. 
by neurologists. Whether that diagnosis was 
right or wrong, there wasn't any doubt that 
she had neurologica a o normalities, includ- 
ing a blind spot in one eye," Truss says. 

Going over her medical history, Truss no- 
ticed that the woman had suffered from se- 
vere Candida vaginitis since her teens. She ' 
had chronic constipation and occasional oral 
thrush. Her M.S. symptoms always wors- 
ened before menstruation, a time when lev- 
els of the hormone progesterone aggravate 
yeast growth. 

Truss told the woman thai he had no rea- 
son to think that treating her for candidiasis 
would help her multiple sclerosis. On a ther- 
apeutic trial of nystatin, however, the wom- 
an's neurological symptoms oegan to dis- 
appear. She remaned in como-lete remission 
until she went off the drug. Then her physi- 
cal problems — including visual problems 
and numbness — returned. These cleared as 
soon as she was back on the antifungal 
medication, and she has remained well (and 
given birth to a healthy baby). 

Truss was excited, but he knew that one 
isolated case — especially with a disease 
known for its remissions— didn't prove any- 
thing. In the ensuing years, however, he was 
to have dramatic successes with other pa- 
tients whose autoimmune conditions — in- 
cluding lupus and Crohn's disease — also 
disappeared. Truss began to suspect that in 
some people, Candida might be interfering 
with the body's suppressor cells, the part of 
the immune system that keeps cytotoxic, or 
killer, cells from attacking the organs and tis- 
sues. It-could be that certain individuals are 
genetically predisposed to this condition. 
Truss wondered whether many autoimmune 
diseases weren't different manifestations of 
the same problem. "That two or more major 
autoimmune diseases can occur simulta- 
neously in the same patient tends to support 
this concept," he points out. 

. Slowly, word of Truss's work filtered into 
the psychiatric community. And in 1977 
members of the Academy of Orthomolecu- 
lar Psychiatry asked Truss to address their 
meeting in Toronto. He presented a paper 
discussing six. cases in which patients had 
responded dramatically to candidiasis treat- 
ment. Shortly after the Toronto meeting, he 
spoke before the Huxley Society — formerly 
the American Schizophrenia Association — 
in Florida. 

The physicians who heard Truss at these ' 
gatherings were taken aback by his radical 
thoughts on Candid::. ' I began to think it was 
the most important paper I'd seen in the last 
ten years in terms of influencing the way we 
think about disease," says Sidney Baker, who 
is the clinical assistant oro'essor of pediat- 
rics at Yale and. director of the Gesell Ihsti- 


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No one living had ever seen. 
Hong withoui the big chain on 
his neck. No one had ever 
maneuvered him into the 
street when he didn't want to . 
go or beaten him at a game 
of cards, either. Oh. he'd 
been known to lose a hand 
or two. and once even a foot. 
but never an eyeball or a 
new joint. He was lean, wiry. 
and stainless. His arms 
were gooseneck molybdenum 
steel, one of which he 
won — I hear — by bluffing Salt 
Morass into folding with 
three of a kind to Hong's nine- 
high. Grudge the Smith 
says he charged $112,000 to 
make the left one. and Hong 
paid in cash. This was the day 
after Hong faced down Red- 
Eared Rick in the street and 
made him cough up the take 
from his last bank job- 
all over the ground. Hong had 
one silver eye and one 
gray eye. and they say he 
was harder to stare down 
than a one-eyed flounder. 
Since Hong was my cousin, 
I had been acquainted 
with him for many years, but 
he was less than friendly. He 


usually ignored me. The last time I saw him 
was one day at the Silver Transistor Saloon. 
He stepped inside :he swinging doors, and 
as he surveyed the crowd, I surveyed him. 

Hong's eyes were a perpetual squint in a 
face Ihe colo; of Kansas wheat. His reputa- 
tion as a gambler and a never-miss gun was 
aided by the villain's mustache he twirled, 
though everyone swore he only sharked 
professionals. A limber 'stride carried him to 
one of the game tables, reminding me how 
he'd had two oalhoin; knees pul in after he 
sho! them clean out of Collapsible Jed Fo- 
ley's legs — according to rumor, anyway. 
■ Shooting a lawyer in Arizona won Hong an 
Avocado waist with a one-hundred-forty- 
degree turning arc. It was lat, green, and 
. high in cholesterol His pr'dc- and joy, though, 
was a pair of black boots. They were clear 
and glassy like obsidian; according to Sally 
Flash, Ihe saloonie, they were obsidian. And 
they weren't boots, either; they were his feet. 
No one knew for sure. Hackles, my superior 
at the stable, says Hong bluffed a king-high 
hand over none other than Sweetwater Curt, 
in Dallas, winning the obsidian leel over 
queens and nines. Incredible. 

Shoutswentup from onco : the games, and 
a shot was fired. When the excitement died. 
Hong sauntered over to take the place of the 
dead player. 

I sidled over to Sally Flash at a nearby 
table and stood there awhile. She didn't like 
me 'cause Hong ignored me, and she. left in 
disgust. Her seat though, was worlh having 
because our local legend C arc ftic. u'.-.od 
to- watch faro players from that seat before 
he moved on to other parts. 

I used to shine his boots and. buckles- for 
him while he played, and I could' see from' 
that angle that ne'e arranged lour mirrors and 
two pictures on the walls so that he could 
see every hand at the table. When Cicero hit 
the trail, I inheriledhis seat. The other fellows 
tolerated me, being Cicero's personal boot- 
and-buekle polisher. No one else ever sat 
there/They didn't want to risk being found in 
Cicero Yang's chair, just .n case he came 
back, So when Hong- sat at the table for 
pbker, I had a ringside seat. 

Hong sat down ouiwoc-ri Isotope John and 
Fred without-a-s'urname. Tommy Clanger 
was the only other player; I was allowed io 
observe, Isotope John was dealing. He 
couldn't use a bool polisher; he had cater- 
pillar treads instead of feci 1 1 iated him, never 
having forgotten the time he hornswoggled 
me outof a-brand-new set of bellows at Ihe 
stable. I'd'a been going to sell them lo 
Grudge the Smith, but Isotope John talked 
me into wagering Ihomaaai'isl his new four- 
gallon purple hat. I was belting that he 
couldn't keep star-era r I se; the spare anvil 
on top of his head. Well, 'he cheated as 
usual — it turned out that he had a hydraulic 
diffuser under that big hat., When I set.the 
anvil on his head, little legs shot out from 
under the ba : and braced 1 1 "en so Ives against 
the wall, holding up the anvil where he stood 
in the corner of the stable. He just grinned 
and said, "You're a sucker, Louie Hohg. Not 
like the Hong," And he tookmy bellows 

Now Isotope John -icdded at Hong and 
slarled tossing cards, saying, "I heard about 
your lucky chain, Mister Hong. They say 
you've never missed with your gun nor lost 
a night of cards since the railroad slavers 
put that chain on your neck." 

He dealt with a special wheel-fingered 
hand, mail order from St. Louis. 

"They say," Hong agreed, looking at his 
cards. A pair of lours. He unlaced a gun from 
one holster. 

"Ten dollars," said Fred without-a-sur- 
name. The glass over a painting behind him 
[diodeo a king-high hand. 

'Tin?" said Isotooe Johr Sally Flash was 
looking over his shoulder now, and I couldn't 
see the mirror behind them. I figured she 
knew about the mirror system, too, having 
been tight with Cicero Yang once. 

"Raise ten," said Hong. Ho yawned and 
looked, with a bored expression, at Sally 
Flash. Everyone stayed, 

"Qnecard," said Fred. 

Behind Isotope John, Sally Flash-casually 

6He knew 

something was up; he 

wasn't sure what. 

I figured he was doing the 

. ' unexpected out 

of sheer omeriness and 

suspicion. He 

wasn't scared of gunfights.^ 

began to fiddle wilh the front of her dress. I 
turned away and jusl happened to catch 
Isotope John dealing from Ihe bottom of (he 
deck to Fred without-a-surname. Instantly, 
Tommy Clanger leaped up and yelled, "I saw 
that!" He went for a gun, but Isotope John 
leaned to one sice. Nipped out his pistol, and 
blew Tommy Clanger away like a mosquito. 
Tommy's gun went otf, though, and grazed 
Isotope John on the neck. 

"Accused me o' cheating," said Isotope 
John. A couple of bare wires stuck out of his 
neck- 1 recalleo hear re; Hackles say that a 
crowd in Wichita once tried to lynch Isotope 
John, and that he had put in a slinky-spring 
as a precaution against backlash. 

'John," complained Fred. "Two hands and 
that's Iwo players you've shot. Getting to be 
right noisy, playing wilh you." 
Isotope John glared. "Dealer takes none." 
Fred shrugged and bet. "Ten." 
Isotope John and Hong put in their money. 
Hong called and lost to a pair of eights. 

"Weill" Isotope John grimed and swept in 

his winnings. "Your chain wearing.out, Hong? 

Luck weakening?" 

"Luck never weakens," said Hong. "Deal." 

Sally Flash wandered away, and when I 

saw the hand Isotope John deal: himself, I 
couldn't believe his audacity. One way or 
another, he'd given himself jacks and tens 
before the draw, most likely planning a full 
house. Fred held a nine-high hand and 
folded. But when I saw Hong's hand-lour 
queens — I thought I would faint from glee. 
Of course, he woi;:« have a hard time pulling 
oft one of his patented bluffs when he had 
tne Pest nand at ine table. II had to be that 
fancy luck of his; to kept a clear eye on him 
every moment, and he never once made a 
funny move. But Ihen — if Isotope John was 
cheating and in control, he had dealt Hong 
his hand on purpose. 

"Ante's low for a lucky jerk like you ' -aid 
Isotope John. "I hear you got that luck with 
guns, too." 

Hong raised an eyebrow, and his gray eye 

"So here's a real bet lor you. II I win. you 
shoot it out with me." 

Now I understood. Isotope John had a 
good hand and would make it belter; when 
Hang beat him with an "impossible" four 
queens. Isotope John could call him into the 
street anyway, for cheating, He apparently 
really wanted toshoot il out with Hong. 

"Right," said Hong. "Gimme two cards." 

Isotope John and I both started as Hong 
tossed down a five and— a queen. Isotope 
John's astonishmen; was oroof that he had 
dealt Hong four queens on purpose. His 
worry now; Twice in two hands he'd cheated 
so clumsily as to be caughl. What if held 
fouled up again, and Hong hadn't received 
four queens? After all, he'd just discarded 
one, which would be untactful if he was 
holding three more. 

Hong twirled his villain's mustache and 
kept those squinty eyes on Isotope John. He 
knew something was up: most likely he 
wasn't sure what. I loured ho was doing Ihe 
unexpected out of sheer omeriness and 
suspicion. He wasn't scared of gunfights. 

,_ wo. 'sqi..ea<ec -sotope John. The doubt 
in his voice told Hong all he had to know. 

"I'm onto you now," said Hong wilh a grin. 

Isotope John went for his gun. Hong's 
snake-coil arms flew up with his pistols on 
the ends, and lso:.ope Jonn checked himself 
with his gun still aimed c own ward. He man- 
aged a weak smile. Suddenly Hong spat and 
hit_the wires protruding Irorn Inat neck 
wound. Sparks "lew. smoke; lizzied, and Iso- 
tope John's gun went off, shattering an ob- 
sidian foot, 

"Hey," said Hong, annoyed, looking at his 

'A! leasl you didn'l bluff me with them 
cards," panted Isotope John, swatting his 
neck. "That's your specialty, ain't it?" He 
bolstered "us gun "Serves vol.- right." 

"I did bluff you ' said Hong, flipping open 
the cylinders- of his guns. "No bullets. I haven't 
loaded a gun for four and a half years now." 

■Isotope John leaped up-, furious. "I'll- be 
outside! You can load them or don't; I'll draw 
anyway!" He turned to go but stopped at 
Hong's voice. 

"No, you won't. You'll be scared to. I'll stare 
with my one gray eye and one silver. You'll 

The camera zoomed 
face. His eyebrows we 1 
anced; his eyes went fit 

"•omenl. I zoo-are. 
lope Jot 

Hong's triggers clicked on empty cham- 
bers, I dropped my anvil four flights down 
on Isotope John's head. Some good that hy- 
draulic whatsiiier did now. I'm not sure ex- 
actly what happened, bui rivets and screws 
splattered out all across the dirt oi the street, 
springy and bouncing. 
Then the recording went blank. 

As for me. well, I never wore a big chain 
on my neck. I never stood ou! in the street, 
or played cards, either. But that afternoon, 
my cousin lifted his gaze with one silver eye 
and one gray one and looked at me. up on 
the balcony. He twirlcc his villain's mustache 
with his left hand, peering wil 
ual squint. For a long moment 
sternly, and 1'let my stupid gi 
die. Then, with a wink and a faint chuckle, 
that old bluffer saluted me, pivoted, and 
sauntered bsc-< ns c'e ".ho saloon. DO 

<ml believed in 
flying saucers before I took the 
pictures, and 
I believe in them even 

It was just before noon 
when Dave and Han- 
nah McRoberls pullet 
into the Eve River Rt 
Area, on British Gi 
lumbia's Vancouvi 
Isiand. There was 

distance, and Hann; 
wanted to get a pii 
ture of it. 

Dave joked aboi 
Hannah's lousy phc 
tography. but she just 
focused on the moun- 
taintop and the pretty 
white clouds beyond. 
She took a single shot 
and then got back in 
the car to leavs. 

A few weeks later 
toward the end of Oc- 
tober 1981, the devel- 
oped film came back 
in the mail. The moun- 
tain and clouds were 
in perfect focus, but 

there was something else in the picture as well, something 
that they hadn't seen before, a bright, silvery disc. It seemed 
to be a flying saucer. 

The McRobertses reported the UFO to the Canadian na- 
tional-defense office, at Comox, but the army wasn't inter- 
ested. Then they showed the photo to friends and neigh- 
bors, and everybody wanted a copy. The McRobertses 
received so many requests, in fact, thai they finally began 
to sell the photographs to their friends for $5 for five-by- 
seven prints and $10 for eight-by tens 

One of these copies found its way to a meeting of UFO 
buffs In Pasadena, where Richard Haines spotted it Haines. 
an experimental psychologist and president of the North 
American UFO Federation, thought the picture was so spe- 
cial that ne visited the McRobertses at their Campbell River 
home, He examined and tested their camera He went to the 
photo site and had the area surveyed And approximately 
two years after the shot was taken, Haines took 


McRoberls back to 
the site and had her 
reenaci the original 
photo-taking event 

In July 1984, Haines 
presented the results 
ol his study to the 
Rocky Mountain UFO 
Conference, at the 
University of Wyo- 
ming. After conduct- 
ing a computer anal- 
ysis of the image and 
hiring an "indepen- 
dent Frisbee consul- 
■ant," he told his au- 
: had come 
to 'eel that the object 

its definitely not a 
Fnsbee. he said But 
although a blow-up of 
the image reveals a 
clear dome on top of 
the object, it cant be 
called an alien craft, 
either "it remains uni- 
dentified," he concluded, "and I don't know what it is." 

UFO skeptic Robert Shaeffer, on the other hand, says he 
has an Idea; "It's probably some type of hubcap," he says. 
After inspecting McRoberts's photograph. Shaeffer. au- 
thor of The UFO Verdict (Prometheus, 1981) said, "Haines 
may have established that the object is not a Frisbee, but 
that only leaves everything else. His next step should be to 
go through all the different models of automobile and show 
that it's not a wheel cover from any of them Then maybe I'd 
be convinced It's something different." 

Hannah McRoberls, meanwhile, hasn't changed her mind. 
"I believed in flying saucers before I took the picture." she 
says, "and I still believe in them, even more so. We've put 
the picture under a microscope, and there's no way that the 
object can be anything else. The scary part Is. once you've 
had a UFO experience, you're supposed to have another, I 
keep looking at the mountains and waiting for a UFO to 

Many people claim to 
remember their pasl lives with 
ho prompting whatsoever. 
But a twenty- nine -year- 
old patient at the Dundee 
Royal Infirmary, in Scotland, 
discovered past-life memories 
only after a motorcycle 
accident in 1962 Upon re- 
gaining consciousness, 
the patient claimed he'd been 
a major in the Confederate 
Army during the Civil War. 

The patient, called Robert 
G. (his identity remains confi- 
dential), was soon referred to 
psychiatrist James McHarg. 
of the University of Dundee 
And though McHarg offered a 
diagnosis of cryptonesia. a 
condition typified by severe 
memory disruption. Robert's 
elaborate Civil War tales 
continued to baffle him. 

McHarg solved parr of the 
mystery a year and a half 
later, when he learned that 
just a week before the acci- 
dent, his patient had read 
an article about a British 
group dedicated to the mem- 

96 OMNI 

ory of the American Confed- 
eracy But Robert had ac- 
cess to information in no way 
related to the article and 
the group, and McHarg re- 
mained confused. "How can 
we be sure that a paranormal 
element is not allied with 
the cryptonesia element," he 
asked his colleagues at a 
meeting of parapsyehologists 
at Cambridge University 
not long after. 

These doubts were recently 
resolved, however, when 
McHarg traced the remaining 
details to a 1951 BBC TV 
rendition of the Civil War story 
The Red Badge of Courage. 

The cryptonesia seems 
to have had a basis in ele- 
ments drawn from both 1951 
and 1962, "says McHarg, 
adding that this is the first time 
he'd heard of a past-life 
fantasy drawn from two 
sources— D Scott Rogo 

"From my earliest childhood 
accustomed mysel! to the 
vice of considering myself 
contrary to the way of ordi- 
nary mortals." 


Last summer Bill and 
Oneta Silvester, of Champion, 
Nebraska, noticed that their 
mule, Krause, was gaining 
weight "Her mother was 
a Welsh pony, and they have 
big stomachs. So we just 
thought she was getting fat," 
Oneta recalls. "We didn't 
realize she was pregnant until 
she gave birth." 

What makes Krause's 
motherhood so startling is 
thai mules, crosses between 
female horses and male 
donkeys, are supposed to be 
Incapable of reproduction. 
"Horses have sixty -four 
chromosomes, and donkeys 
have sixty-two,'' says geneti- 
cist Oliver Ryder, of the 
Zoological Society ot San 
Diego's Center for the Repro- 
duction of Endangered 
Species "Mules inherit sixty- 
three chromosomes that 
'get along' with each other 
quite well as far as forming a 
mule; it is only when the 
mule tries to produce repro- 
ductive cells that the incom- 
patibilities are manifest " 

Ryder points out that sev- 
eral other mules have sup- 
posedly given birth- But 
in recent years, whenever 
researchers, armed with 

to investigate, such claims 
always turned out to be- 
erroneous. The supposedly 
fertile mule would sometimes 
prove to be a mulish-looking 
horse "Or she was indeed 
a mute, but the foal wasn't her 
own: she had 'adopted' the 
foal of another horse or 
donkey," Ryder explains 

"Based on the available 
evidence," he adds "it 
was safe to conclude that 
mules ot both sexes were 
completely sterile But the sit- 
uation has changed because 
of Krause. To my knowledge, 
that is the first case of al- 
leged mule fertility that has 
stood up to complete scien- 
tific analysis." Its chrome- 
somes indicate that the foal 
is indeed the offspring of 
Krause, Ryder says. And 
these determinations were 
complemented by blood anal- 
ysis performed by the Univer- 
sity of Calitornia at Davis. 

While scientists pore over 
the significance of an animal 
long believed to be geneti- 
cally infertile, the Silvesters 
report that Krause and her 
foal, Blue Moon (both shown 
below), are doing fine 

— Sherry Baker 

"We do not really understand 
nature at all." 


The visions des 
patients brought back from 
clinical death have become 
almost standard a tunnel 
of light leading to lush, green 
pastures; rows of smiling 
relatives long since gone; and 
an awesome feeling of peace- 
Many recalling the near- 
death experience, in tact, 
claim they've tasted, if only for 
an instant, the heavenly 
reward to come. 

But there's |ust one thing 
wrong with this rosy picture 
According to a Tennessee 
cardiologist, about halt ol all 
near-death patients may 
actually be glimpsing the 
ravages ol hell Nearly 50 
percent of a group of 300 pa- 
tients, claiming to have re- 
turned from the afterlife, says 
Dr Maurice Rawlings, 
reported lakes of fire and 
brimstone, devillike figures, 
and other symbols hailing 
from the darkness of hell 

Clinical professor of medi- 
cine at the Univefs . 
Tennessee College of Medi- 
cine, In Chattanooga, arid 

author of the book Beyond 
Death's Door. Rawlings 
studied near- death patients 
he and his emergency- 
room colleagues had treated 
This new information, Rawl- 
ings says, was obtained 
by interviewing patients im- 
mediately alter resuscitation, 
while they're slill too shaken 
to deny where Iheyvebeen, 
After all, he notes, most 
people are simply ashamed 
to admit they've been to 
hell. "It's like getting ■ 
a report card, and they 
won't even admit it la their 

'Just listening to these 
patients has changed my 
whole life," Rawlings adds 
"There's a life after death, and 
if I don't know where I'm 
going, it's not safe to dte ." 

—Eric Mishara 

"AH who leave the earth go to 
the moon, which is swollen 
by then breath during the first 

half of the month." 

—The Upanishads 

Are you neurotic, insecure, 
and plagued by childhood 
anxieties? Don't blame your 
parents. Blame your third- 
grade penmanship teacher 
"Many of the traits you have 
as an adult." says one- 
time school principal Richard 
Stoller. "were subiimmally 
induced into your personality 
when you first learned cur- 
sive -writing " 

A Milwaukee graphologisi. 
Stoller believes penmanship 
not only reflects personality 
but molds it as well. To test his 
theory, he first gave 96 
elementary-school students 
personality tests and lound 
many insecure He Ihen 
taught his pupils tc 
and is with tall, linn stems 
and high crossbars — classic 
Signs of self-confidence. 
After practicing the new pen- 
manship style for 30 days, 
the students again took 
personality tests. According 
to Stoller, "seventy-nine per- 
cent of the individuals had 
improved sell-esteem ." 

Not all penmanship lessons 
are beneficial. "If kids are 
taught to write h's and 3's with 
short jabs, " notes Stoller, 
"they develop terrible tem- 
pers." Children who learn to 
make capital L's with flat 

- adds, tend !o grow 
up with jealou 

Fortunately, Stoller says, 
"you can change your per- 
sonality by changing your 

Say you are tense — a 
personality flaw that may 
manifest itself in hard, angular 
handwriting. Simply practice 
writing soft, rounded letters 
for a half hour each day 
'Around the twenty -seventh 
day," says Stoller, "you will 
begin to round your letters 
automatically. At that point, 
your personality will become 
less tense, too." 

New York psychoanalyst 
Harry Perlowitz disagrees. 
Handwriting may sometimes 
be a clue to personality, 
he says. But the feat of curing 
a patient by changing his 
handwriting is something 
the psychiatric profession 
has yet to see, 

Stoller, nonetheless, stands 
firm, "If I had not statistically 
proved this." he adds, "'I 
would be the last person to 
believe it was true " 

— Carol Fletcher 

"One of the deepest and 
most widespread of human 
prejudices was faith in the 
unaided, unmediated human 


i ' 



Harry Houdlni (above) 
spent his life escaping locks, 
boxes, and water-torture 
cells. But his death was 
allegedly more mundane: 
He is said to have 
succumbed to streptococcal 
peritonitis caused by a 
ruptured appendix. 

This long accepted expla- 
nation, however, has recently 
been disputed by fellow 
magician Norman Bigelow. 
Bigelow leads an entourage 
of escape artists and magi- 
cians determined to prove 
that Houdini was the victim of 
foul play. Bigelow's Overrid- 
ing hypothesis: Houdini's 
murder was planned by the 
many angered spirit mediums 
he exposed as frauds. 

Houdini's appendix. Bige- 
low points out. ruptured 
after he was attacked by a 
medical student at McGlll 
University. And it's entirely 
possible, adds Bigelow, 
that the student acted at the 
request of psychics who 


may have been his triends. 

Once Houdini arrived 
at Grace Hospital, in Detroit. 
Bigelow adds, doctors tried 
to ease his discomfort with 
an experimental serum. But 
they refused to divulge the 
nature ot the serum, he says, 
speculating that "poison 
may have been Involved as a 
little helping hand from 
spiritland," Finally, Bigetow 
contends, the appendix may 
have been ruptured not by 
the blows of the medical 
student but by the surgeons 
treating Houdini in Detroit. 

"There is no doubt in 
my mind that there was a 
cover-up," says Bigelow, "and 
that somehow, Houdini was 
murdered upon the com- 
mand of fraudulent mediums. 
When the truth comes out, 
it will prove Houdini's claim 
that mediums will even 
commit murder to stay in 
" -Steven Castle 

A group of scientists has 
recently urged the European 
Space Agency to colonize 
Mars, making the red planet 
man's next great mission 
in space. Toward that end, an 
English lord and an organiza- 
tion called Argo Venture will 
simulate a Martian colony 
right here on Earth. About 30 
colonists from Europe and 
North America will reside in 
huts of the coast oi England, 
explains Lord Michael Young, 
of Dartington; and when 
they step outside, they will 
perform the same sort of 
tasks they'd be expected to 
perform on Mars 

Young, a sociologist, hopes 
that the simulated colony 
will help determine the social 
and political conditions best 
suited to Mars "We want 
to find the proper balance of 
sexes: whether there should 
be children, the right mix 
of personalities; what author- 
ity should be invested In 
whom and by what right: and 
what steps should be taken 
in the beginning to reduce the 
risk of wars on the new 
planet," he says. 

Along with the social 
experiment. Young adds, will 

be a biological experiment to 
find out whether bubble 
chambers simulating the 
Martian atmosphere can be 
modified by the introduction 
of oxygen-producing algae 
from Antarctica. 

"If vegetation grows in the 
chambers, "he says, "it 
may mean we'll be able to 
create a new Martian eco- 
sphere m which the propor- 
tion of oxygen on the plahet 
could be raised to sustain 
human life." 

Young's project is endorsed 
by former astronaut Russell 
Schweickart, now energy 
commissioner of California 
and a member of Argo 
Venture Although tne Martian 
habitat is just one of the 
organization's concerns, he 
notes, "it is certainly not 

Argo Venture hopes to 
establish a colony on Mars 
during the early part of 
the twenty-llrst century. 

— Rob MacGregor 
and Trish Janeshutz 

"There is considerable evi- 
dence that great empires and 
civilizations have been un- 
done not by barbarian invad- 
ers but by climatic change. " 
—1977 CIA report 

"Everything unknown is 


—Cornelius Tacitus 


In their own times, many great American 
writers found their works attacked by hos- 
tile critics or ignored by an indifferent 
public. Today, of course, the world ac- 
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Even so, many of their works have gone out 
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Begin your Library of America 
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The Poetry and Tales of Poe have received 
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seemed to have sunken into his head. He 
was trembling slightly, and his face had be- 
come waxen and pale. 

He's scared, Thomas realized, he's jus! 
plain scared right out of his skull. . . . 

"This has all happened before," Woody 
said hoarsely. 

"What in the world are you talking about?" 
Thomas asked. 

"Haven't you read your history?" Woody 
asked. He was a reticent man, slow voiced 
and deliberate, like most computer hackers, 
but now the words rushed from his mouth in 
a steadily accelerating stream, almost tum- 
bling over one another in their anxiety to get 
out. His voice was higher than usual, and it 
held the ragged overtones of hysteria in it. 
"The Mariner 9 mission, the robot probe. 
Back in 1971. Remember? Jes as the probe 
reached Mars orbit, before it could start 
sending back any photos, a great big cur- 
tain storm came up, jes like this one. Great 
big bastard. Covered everything. Socked the 
whole planet in for weeks. No surface visi- 
. bility at all. Had the scientists back home 
pulling their hair out. But when the storm fi- 
nally did lift, and the photos did start coming 
in, everybody was jes flatout amazed. None 
of the Lowellian features, no canals, noth- 
ing— jes craters and rills and volcanoes, all 
the stuff we expected to see this time 
around." He gave a shaky laugh. 

"So everybody jes shrugged and said 
Lowell had been wrong— poor visibility, se- 
lector bias, he jes thought he'd seen canals. 
Connected up ox st : ng sur'fice features with 
imaginary lines, maybe. He'd seen what he 
wanted to see." Woody paused, licking at 
his lips, and then began talking faster and 
shriller than ever. "But that wasn't true, was 
il? We know better, don'l we, boys? We can 
see the proof right out that window! My crazy 
of uncle Barry, he had the right of it irom the 
start, and everybody else was wrong.- He 
tole me what happened, but I was jes too 
dumb to believe him! It was the space peo- 
ple, the UFO people! The Martians! They saw 
the probe coming, and they whomped that 
storm up; to keep us from seeing the sur- 
face, and then they changed everything. 
Under the cover of the sandstorm, they 
changed the whole damn planet to fool us, 
to keep us from i'noing out they were there! 
This proves it! They changed it back\ They're 
out there right now, the flying saucer peo- 
ple! They're out there — " 

"Bullshit!" the commander said. His voice 
was harsh and loud and cracked like a whip. 
but it was the unprecedented use of ob- 
scenity that startled them more than any- 
thing else. They turned to look at him, where 
he floated near the command console. Even . 
Woody, who had just seemed on the verge 
of a breakdown, gasped and fell silent, 

When he was sure he had everyone's, at- 
tention, the commander smiled coldly and 
said, "While you were all going through your 
little psychodrama, I've been doing a little 

100 OMNI 

elementary checking. Here's the telemetry 
data, and you know what? Everything shows 
up the same as it did before the sandstorm. 
Exactly . . . the . . . 'same. Deep radar, in- 
frared, everything." He tapped the com- 
mand console. "It's just the same as it ever 
was: no breathable air, low atmospheric 
pressure, subzero temperatures, nothing but 
sand and a bunch of goddamn rusty-red 
rocks. No vegetation, no surface water, no 
canals." He .switched the view from the ship's 
exterior cameras onto the cabin monitor, and 
there for everyone to see was the familiar 
Mars of the Mariner and Viking probes; rocky, 
rugged, cratered. lifeless. No green oases. 
No canals. 

Everyone was silent, mesmerized by the 
two contradictory images. 

"I don't know what's causing this strange 
visual hallucination we're all seeing," the 
commander said, gesturing at the window 
and speaking slowly and Deliberately. "But I 
do know that it is a hallucination. It doesn't 
show up on the cameras, it doesn't show up 

i/V/ four men 

were silent, feeling a sudden 

isolation. For 

months, their only contact 

with Earth had 

been a faint voice on the 

radio, and now 

even that link was severed.?* 

in the lelemeiry. It's just not real." 

They adjourned the argument to the bar. 
Doofus the Moose — an orange inflatable toy 
out of Johnboy's personal kit — smiled be- 
nignly down on them as they sipped from 
bags of reconstituted citrus juice (NASA did 
not believe' thai they could be trusted with a 
ration of alcohol, and the hip flask Woody 
had smuggled aboard had been polished 
off long before) and went around and around 
the issue without reaching any kind of con- 
sensus. The "explanations" became more 
and more farfetched, until at last the com- 
mander uttered the classic phrase mass 
hypnosis,- causing Johnboy to start whoop- 
ing in derision. 

There was a long, humming silence. Then 
Johnboy, his mood altering, said very qui- 
etly, "It doesn't matter anyway. We're never 
going to find out anything more about what's 
happening from up here." He looked soberly 
around at the others. "There's really only one 
decision we've got to make: Do we go on 
down, "or not? Do we land?" 

Even the commander was startled. "After 
all this — you still want to land?" 

Johnboy shrugged. "Why not? It's what we 
came all the way out here tor, isn't it?" 

"It's too dangerous. We don't even know 
what's happening here." 

"I thought it was only mass hypnosis," 
Johnboy said slyly. 

"I think it is," the commander said stoutly, 
unperturbed by Johnboy's sarcasm. "But 
even if it is, we still don't know why we're 
having these hallucinations, do we? It could 
be a sign of organic deterioration or dys- 
function of some sort, caused by who knows 
what. Maybe there's some kind of intense 
electromagnetic field out there that we 
haven't detected that's disrupting the elec- 
trical pathways of our nervous systems: 
maybe there's an unforeseen flaw in the re- 
cycling system that's causing some kind of 
toxic buildup that affects brain chemis- 
try. , . . The point is, we're not functioning 
right; we're seeing things that aren't there!" 

"None of that stuff matters, " Johnboy said. 
He leaned forward, speaking now with great 
urgency and passion. No one had ever seen 
him so serious or so ferociously intent. "We 
have to land. Whatever the risk. It was hard 
enough funding this mission. If we fuck up 
out here, there may never be another one. 
NASA itself might not survive." He stared 
around at his crewmates. "How do you think 
it's going to look, Woody? We run into the 
greatest mystery the human race has ever 
encountered, and we immediately go scur- 
rying home with our tails tucked between 
our legs without even investigating it? That 
sound good to you?" 

Woody grunted and shook his head. "Sure 
doesn't, of buddy," he said. He glanced 
around the table and then coolly said, "Let's 
get on down there." Now thai he was appar- 
ently no longer envisioning the imminent ar- 
rival of UFO-riding astronaut mutilators, 
Woody seemed determined to be as cool 
and unflappable and ultramacho as possi- 
ble, as if to prove that he hadn't really been 
frightened after all. 

There was another silence, and slowly 
Thomas became aware that everyone else 
was staring at him. 

It all came down to him now. The deciding 
vote would be his. Thomas locked eyes with 
Johnboy, and Johnboy stared back at him 
with unwavering intensity. The question didn't 
even need to be voiced; it hung in the air 
between them and charged the lingering si- 
lence with tension. Thomas moved uneasily 
under the weight of all those watching eyes. 
How did he feel? He didn't really know- 
strange, that was about the closest he could 
come to it . . . hung up between fear and 
some other slowly stirring emotion he couldn't 
identify and didn't really want to think about. 
But there was one thing he suddenly was 
certain about: They weren't going to aban- 
don his part of the mission, not after he'd 
come this far! Certainly he was never going 
to get another chance to get into the history 
books. Probably that was Johnboy's real 
motive, too, above and beyond the jazz 
about the survival of NASA. Johnboy was a 
cool enough head to realize that if they came 
home without landing, they'd be laughing- 
stocks, wimps instead of heroes, and some- 
body else on some future mission would get 

all the glory. Johnboy's ego was much loo 
big to allow him to take a chance on that. 
And he was right! Thomas had even more 
reason lo be afraid of being passed over, 
passed by: When you were black, oppor- 
tunities like this certainly didn't knock more 
than once. - 

"We've still gol almost three days until the 
launch window opens," Thomas said, 
speaking slowly and deliberately. "I think we 
should make maximum use of that time by 
going down there and finding out as much 
as we pan." He raised his eyes and stared 
directly at the commander. "I say we land." 

Commander Redenbaugh insisted on re- 
ferring the issue to Houston lor a final deci- 
' sion, but after several hours of trying, it be- 
came clear that he was not going to be able 
lo get Ihrough to Earth. For once, the buck 
was refusing to be passed. 

The commander sighed and ran his fin- 
gers wearily through his hair. He felt old and 
tired and ineffectual. He knew what Houston 
would probably have said, anyway. With the 
exception of the commander himself (who 
had been top well-known not to be chosen], 
de facto policy for this mission had been to 
select unmarried men with no close per- 
sonal or family ties back home. That alone 
spoke volumes. They were supposed to be 
laking risks out here. That was what they were 
here for. It was part of their job. 

At dawn over Chryse, they went down. 

As commander of the landing party, 
Thomas was first out of the lander. Awkward 
in his suit, he climbed backward out of the 
hatch and down the exterior ladder. He 
caught reeling flashes of the Martian sky. and 
it was orange, as it should be. His first, in- 
stinctive reaction was relief, followed by an 
intense stab of perverse disappointment, 
which surprised him. As he hung from the 
ladder, one foot almost touching the ground, 
he paused to reel off the words that some 
PR. man at NASA had composed for the oc- 
casion: "In the name ot all humanity, we 
dedicate the planet of war to peace. May 
God grant us this." He put his foot down, 
then looked down from the ladder, twisting 
around to get a look at the spot he was 
standing on. 

'Jesus Christ," he muttered reverently. Or- 
ange sky or not, there were plants of some 
kind growing here. He was standing almost 
knee-deep in them, a close-knit, springy mat 
of grayish-ocher vegetation. He knelt down 
and gingerly touched it. 

"It looks like some kind of moss," he re- 
ported. "It's pliant and giving to the touch, 
springs slowly back up again. I can break it 
off in my hand." 

The transmission from the Plowshare 
crackled and buzzed with static, "Thomas," 
said the commander's voice in his ear, "what 
are you talking about? Are you okay?" 

Thomas straightened up and took his first 
long, slow look around. The ocher-colored 
moss stretched out to the orange horizon in 
all directions, covering both the flat plains 
immediately around them and a range of 

102 OMNI 

gently rolling hills in the middle distance to 
the north. Here and there the moss was 
punctuated by tight clusters ot spiny, mis- 
shapen shrubs, usually brown or glossy 
black or muddy purple, and even occasion- 
ally by a lone tree. The trees were crimson, 
about ten feet high; the trunks glistened with 
the color of fresh, wet blood, and their flat, 
glassy leaves glittered like sheets of ame- 
thyst. Thomas dubbed them flarnetrees. 
. The lander was resting only several hun- 
dred yards away from a canal. 

It was wide, the canal; and its still, per- 
fectly clear waters reflected the sky as dark 
as wine, as red as blood. Small yellow flow- 
ers trailed delicate tentacles into the water 
from the edging walls, which were old and 
crumbling and carved with strange geo- 
metrical patterns of swirls and curlicues that 
might, just possibly, be runes. 

It can't possibly be real, Thomas thought 

Johnboy and Woody were clambering 
down the ladder, clumsy and troll-like in their 

'•His eyes were 

feverish and unfocused and 

bright and seemed 

to have sunken into his 

head. He was 

trembling slightly, and 

his face had 

become waxen and pale.^ 

hulking suits, and Thomas moved over to 
make room for them. 

"Mother dog!" Woody breathed, looking 
around him, the wonder clear in his voice. 
"This is really something, ain't it?" He laid a 
gloved hand on Thomas's shoulder. "This is 
what we saw from up there." 

"But it's impossible," Thomas said. . 

Woody shrugged. "If it's a hallucination, 
then it's sure as hell a beautiful one." 

Johnboy had walked on ahead without a 
word, until he was several yards away from 
the ship; now he came to a stop and stood 
staring out across the moss-covered plain 
to the distant hills. "It's like being born again." 
he whispered. 

The commander cut in again, his voice 
popping and crackling with static. "Report 
in! What's going on down there?" 

Thomas shook his head. "Commander, 1 
wish I knew." 

He unlashed the exterior camera from the 
lander, set it up on its tripod,' removed the 
lens cover. "Tell me what you see." 
■ "I see sand,- dust, rocks . . . what else do 
you expect me to see?" 

"No canals?" Thomas asked sadly. "No 
trees? No moss?" 

"Christ, you're hallucinating again, aren't 
you?" the commander said. "This is what I 
was afraid of. All of you, listen to me! Listen 
good! There aren't any goddamn canals 
down there. Maybe there's water down a few 
dozen meters as permafrost. But the sur- 
face is as dry as the moon." 

"But there's some sort of moss growing all 
over the place." Thomas said. "Kind of gray- 
ish-ocher color, about a foot and a half high. 
There's clumps of bushes. There's even frees 
of some kind. Can't you see any of that?" 

"You're hallucinating," the commander 
said. "Believe me, the camera shows noth- 
ing but sand and rock down there. You're 
standing in a goddamn lunar desert and 
babbling to me about trees, for Christ's sake! 
That's enough for me. I want everybody back 
up here, right now. I shouldn't have let you 
talk me into this in the first place. We'll let 
Houston unravel all this. It's no longer our 
problem. Woody, come back here! Stick to- 
gether, dammit!" 

Johnboy was still standing where he had 
stopped, as if entranced, but Woody was 
wandering toward the canal, poking around. 

"Listen up!" the commander said. "I want 
everybody back in the lander, right now. I'm 
going to get you out of there before some- 
body gets hurt. Everybody back now. That's 
an order! That's a direct order!" 

Woody turned reluctantly and began 
bounding slowly toward the lander, pausing 
every few yards to look back over his shoul- 
der at the canal. 

Thomas sighed, not sure whether he was 
relieved to be getting out of here or heart- 
broken to be going so soon. 

"Okay, Commander," Thomas said. "We 
read you. We're coming up. Right away." He 
took a few light, buoyant steps forward — 
fighting a tendency to bounce kangaroolike 
off the ground— and tapped Johnboy gently 
on the arm. "Come on. We've got to go back 

Johnboy turned slowly around. "Do we 7 " 
he said. "Do we really?" 

"Orders," Thomas said uneasily, feeling 
something begin to stir and turn over pon- 
derously in the deep backwaters of his own 
soul. "I don't want to go yet, either, but the 
commander's right. If we're hallucinating , . ." 

"Don't give me that shit!" Johnboy said 
passionately. "Hallucinating, my ass! You 
touched the moss, didn't you? You felt it. This 
isn't a hallucination, or mass hypnosis, or any 
of that other crap. This is a world, a new world, 
and it's ours.'" 

'Uohnboy, get in the lander right now! "the 
commander broke in, "That's an order!" 

"Fuck you, Ahab!" Johnboy said. 'And fuck 
your orders, too!" 

Thomas was shocked— and at the same 
time felt a stab of glee at the insubordination, 
an emotion that surprised him and that he 
hurried uneasily to deny, saying, "You're out 
of line, Johnboy, I want you to listen to me, 
now — " 

"No, you listen to me," Johnboy said 
fiercely. "Look around you! I know you've 
read Burroughs. You know where you are! A 

dead sea bottom, covered with ocher-col- 
ored moss. Rolling hills. A canal." 

"Those are the very reasons why it can't 
be real," Thomas said uneasily. 

"It's real if we want il lo be real," Johnboy 
said. "It's here because of us. It's made for 
us. It's made out of us." 

"Stop gabbing and get in the lander!" the 
commander shouted. "Move! Get your asses 
in gear!" 

Woody had come up to join them. "Maybe 
we'd better—" he started to say. but John- 
boy cut in with; 

"Listen to me! I knew what was happening 
Ihe moment I looked out and saw the Mars 
ol Schiaparelli and Lowell, the old Mars. 
Woody, you said that Lowell saw what he 
■ wanted to see. That's right, but in a different 
way than you meant it. You know, other con- 
temporary astronomers looked at Mars at the 
same time as Lowell, with the same kind of 
instruments, and saw no canals at all. You 
ever hear of consensual reality? Because 
Lowell wanled to see it. it existed tor him! 
Just as it exists for us — because we want it 
to exist! We don't have to accept the gray 
reality of Ahab here and all the other gray 
little men back at NASA. They want it to be 
racks and dust and dead, drab desert; they 
like it that way — " 

"For God's sake!" the commander said. 
"Somebody get that nut in the lander! " 

" — but we don't like it! Deep down inside 
of us — Thomas, Woody — wedon'tbefevein 
that Mars. We believe in this one — the real 
one. That's why it's here for us! That's why 
it's the way it is — it's made of our dreams. ! 
Who knows what's over those hills: bone- 
white faerie cities? four-armed green men 7 
beautiful princesses? the Twin Cities of He- | 
lium? There could be anything out there!" 

"Thomas!" the commander snapped. "Got 
Johnboy in the lander now. Use force if nec- 
essary, but get him in there. Johnboy! You're 
emotionally unstable. 1 want you to consider 
yourself under house arrest!" 

"I've been under house arrest all my life," 
Johnboy said. "Now I'm free." 

Moving deliberately, he reached up and 
unsnapped his helmet. 

Thomas started forward with an inarticu- 
late cry of horror, trying lo stop him, but it 
was too late. Johnboy had his helmet com- 
pletely off now and was shaking his head to 
Iree his shaggy, blond hair, which rippled 
slightly in the breeze. He took a deep breath, 
another, and then grinned at Thomas. "The 
air smells -great," he said. 'And. my God, is 
it clean!" 

'Johnboy?" Thomas said hesitantly. "Are 
you okay?" 

"Christ!" the commander was muttering. 
"Christ! Oh my God! Oh my sweet God!" 

"I'm fine," Johnboy said. "In fact, I'm ter- 
rific.' He smiled brilliantly at them, then 
sniffed at the inside of his helmet and made 
a face. "Phew! Smells like an armpit in there!" 
He started to strip off his suit, 

"Thomas;" Woody," the commander said 
leadenly. "Put Johnboy's body into the land- 
er, and then get in there yourselves, fast, be- 
fore we lose somebody else. " 

Daniel's Hollow, spring has finally made it. 

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"But . . ." Thomas said, "there's nothing 
wrong with Johnboy. We're talking to him." 

' God damn t : look at your tried readouts. " 

Thomas glanced at thu; c-msirap reucoui 
board, which was ref'ecled .m.o a tiny square 
on the right side of his faceplate. There was 
a tiny red light flashing on Johnboy's read- 
out. "Christ!" Thomas whispered. 

"He's, dead, Thomas, he's dead.. I can see 
his body. He fell over like he'd been pole- 
axed right after he opened his helmet and' 
hemorrhaged his lungs out into the sand. 
Listen to me! Johnboy's dead — anything 
else is a hallucination!" 
• Johnboy grinned at fhem. kicking free of 
his suit. "I may be dead, kids," he lold ihem 
quizzically, "but let me tell you, dead or not, 
■ I feel one-hundred-perceiv belter row ihai 
I'm out of that crummy suit, believe it The 
air's a littie bit cool, but it feels wonderful." 
He raised his arms and stretched lazily, like 
a cat. 

'Johnboy — ?"' Woody said, tentatively. 

"Listen,'" Ihe commander raged. "You're 
hallucinating! You're talking to yoL/sc-vos' 
Get in the. lander! That's an order." 

"Yes, sir, sir," Johnboy said mockingly, 
sketching a salute at the -sky. 'Are you ac- 
tually going to listen ,[o that asshole?" He 
stepped forward and took each oi them by 
the arm and shook fhem angrily. "Do I feel 
dead to you. schmucks?" 

" nomas /e/.'thoi ngers close over his arm. 
and an odd. deep thrill shot through him— 
pari incredulity, par: supernatural dread, part 
a sudden, strange ex.hrarahon. "I can feel 
him," Woody was saying wonder ingly. pal- 
ting Johnboy with h:s goved hands. "He's 
solid. He's there. I'll be a son of a bitch — " 

"Be one?" Johnboy said, grinning. "01' 
buddy, you already are one. " 

Woody laughed. "No Hallucination's ihat 
corny," Woody said to Thomas. "He's real, 
all right." 
. "But the readout — "Thomas began. 

"Obviously wrong. There's. got to be some 
kind of -mistake — " 

Woody started to unfasten his helmet. 

"No!" the commander screamed, and at 
[he same time Thomas' darted forward 
shouting, "Woody! Stop!" and Iried to grab 
him, butWoody twistec aside and bounded 
limberly away, ouf of reach. 

Cautiously, Woody took his helmet off. He 
sniffed suspiciously,' his lean, leathery lace 
stifl with tens on. then he relaxed, and then 
he began to smile. "Hoo/e," he said in awe. 

"Get his helmet back on, quick! " the com- 
mander was shouting Rut Woody 's medical 
readout was already flashing orange, and 
even as the commander sooko. it turned red. 

"Too late!" the commander moaned. "Oh 
God, too /ate. . . ." 

Woody looked into his helmet at his own 
flashing readout. His face registered sur- 
prise for an instant, and then he began to 
laugh. "Weh-ayl," Woody drawled, "now that 
I'm officially a corpse, I guess I don't need 
this anymore:" 'He threw his helmet aside; it 
bounced and rolled over the spongy moss. 
"Thomas." Woody said, "you do what you 
want, but I've been locked up in a smelly of 

104 OMNI 

tin can for months, and what I'm going to do 
is wash my face in some honest-to-God. un- 
recycled water' He grinned at Thomas and 
began walking away toward the canal. "I 
might even- take me a swim" 

"Thomas . . ." the commander said bro- 
kenly. "Don't worry about the bodies. Don't 
worry about anything else Just get in the 
lander. As soon as you're inside I'm going to 
trigger tne launch sequence." 

Johnboy was staring at him quizzically, 
compass, ona'ely — waiting. 

'Johnboy . . ." Thomas said. 'Johnboy, how 
can I tell which is real?" 

"Yo'u criobse what's real." Johnboy said 
quietly. "We all do." 

"Listen to me, Thomas," the commander 
pleaded; there was an edge of panic in his 
voice. "You're '.asking to yourself again. 
Whatever you think you're seeing. Or hear- 
ing, or even touching it just isn't real. There 
can be tactile .'laiucirr-rions. loo, you know. 
It's notrea/." 

"Old Ahab up there has made his choice, 

'•The lander was 

several hundred yards away 

from a canal. 

The canal was wide, and 

its still, perfectly 

clear waters reflected 

the sky as dark 

as wine, as red as hlood.^ 

too,." Johnboy said. "For him, in his own con- 
ceptual universe. Woody and I are dead. And 
that's real, too lor him. But you don't have 
to choose that reality. You can choose this 

"I don't know." Thomas mumbled, "I just 
don't know.'. . ." 

Woody hit the water in an explosion of 
foam, He swam a few strokes whooping, 
then turned to float on his back. "C'mon in. 
you guys!" he.shouted: 

Johnboy smiled, then turned to bring his 
face close to Thomas's helmet, peering in 
ih'ouyh the : acoplale. johnboy was still 
wearing that strange, dreamy look, so unlike 
his usual animaled exp'ession. and his eyes 
were clear and compassionate and calm. "It 
calls for an act o" fain. Thoras Maybe that's 
how every world begins." He grinned at 
Thomas. "Meanwhile, I think I'm going to take 
a swim, too " He strel ed e ;: toward the canal, 
bouncing a little at each step. 

Thomas stood- unmoving,- the two red- 
lights flashing on his chinstrap readout. 

"They're both going swimming now," 
Thomas said dully. 

"Thomas! Can you hear me, Thomas?" 

"I hear you." Thomas mumbled. 

They were havirg fun -n :her new world — 
he could see that. The kind of fun thai kids 
had . . . that every child ;ook lor granted; The 
joy df discovery of eve-ythirg being new 
the joy that seemed to get lost in ihe gray 
shuffle to adulthood, given up bit by incre- 
mental bit. ... 

"You're just going to have to trust me, 
Thomas. Trust me. Take my word for it that I 
know what I'm talking about. You're going to 
have to lake that on faith. Now listen to me; 
No matter what you think is going on down 
there, don't take your helmet off." 

His father used to lecture him in that same 
tone of voice, demanding, domineering . . . 
and at the same time condescending. 
Scornful. Daddy knows best. Listen to me, 
boy. I know what I'm talking about! Do what 
I tell you to do! 

"Do you hear me? Do nor! take your helmet 
off! Under any circumstances at all, That's 
an order. " 

Thomas nodded, before he could stop 
himself. Here he was, good boy little Tommy, 
standing on ihe 'ringes again, laking orders, 
doing what he was :o-d Getting oassed over 
again. And for what? 

Something flew by in the distance, headed 
toward the hilts. 

It looked to be about the size el a large 
bird, but liNea dragonfly i' -iaos:xipro.. f'l -y 
gossamer wings, which it swirled around in 
a complexly interweaving pattern, as if it were 
rowmg itself through the air. 

"Get to- the lander, Thomas, and closethe 

Never did have any fun. Have to be twice 
as good as any of them, have to bust your 
godcamn ass — 

"That's a direct order. Thomas!" 

You've got to make the bastards respect 
you, you've got to earn their respect. His fa- 
ther had said that a million ti-^-es. And now 
little time it had ;aken him tc waste away and 
■die, once he'd stopped trying, once' he re- 
alized that you can't earn what people aren't 
willing to sell. 

A red and yellow lizard ran over his boot, 
as quick and silent as a tickle. It had six legs. 

One by one, he began to undog the 
latches of his helmet. 

"No! Listen to me! II you take off your hel- 
met, you'll die. Don't do it! For God's sake, 
don't do it!" 

The last latch. It was sticky, but he tugged 
at it purposefully. 

"You're killing yourself! Stop it! Please. 
Stop! You goddamn stupid rigger! Stop — " 

Thomas smiled, oddly enough feeling 
closer to the commander in nat moment than 
he ever had before. "Too late," he said 

Thomas Iwisleo his ncl^o! a quarter turn 
and lifted itoif his head. 

When the third red light winked on, Com- 
mander Rcdenbaugh soaped against the 
board and started to cry. He wept openly 
and loudly, for they had been good men. and 
he had failed all of them, even Thomas, the 
best and steadiest of the lot. He hadn't been 
able to save a goddamned one of Ihem! " 

At last he was able to pull himself to- 
gether. He lorced himself to look again at the 
monitor, which showed three space-suited 
bodies sprawled out lifelessly on the rusty- 
red sand. 

He folded his hands, bent his head, and 
prayed for the souls of his dead compan- 
ions. Then he switched the monitor off. 

It was time to make plans. Since the Plow- 
share would be carrying a much lighter-than- 
anticipated return cargo, he had enough ex- 
cess fuel to allow him to leave a bit early, if 
he wanted to, and he did want to. He began 
to punch figures into the computer, smiling 
bitterly at the irony. Yesterday he had been 
regretting that they had so little time left in 
Mars orbit. Now„suddenly, he was in a hurry 
!o get home ... but no matter how many 
corners he shaved, he'd still be several long, 
grueling months in transit — with quite prob- 
ably a court-martial waiting for him when he 
got back. 

For an instant, even the commander's spirit 
quailed at the thought of that dreadful return 
journey. But he soon got himself under con- 
trol again. It would be a difficult and un- 
pleasant trip, right enough, bui a deter- 
mined man could always manage to do what 
needed to be done. 

Even if he had to do it alone. 

When the Plowshare's plasma drive was 
switched on, it created a daytime star in the 
Martian sky. It was like a shooting star in re- 
verse, starting out at its brightest and dim- 
ming rapidly as it moved up and away. 

Thomas saw it leave. He was leaning 
against his makeshift spear — flametree 
wood, with a fire-hardened tip — and watch- 
ing Johnboy preparing to skin the dead 
hyena- leopard, when he chanced to glance 
up. "Look," he said. 

Johnboy followed Thomas's eyes and saw 
it, too. He smiled sardonically and lifted the 
animal's limp paw, making it wave bye-bye. 
"So long, Ahab," Johnboy said. "Good luck." 
He went back to skinning the beast. The 
hyena-leopard — a little bit larger than a 
wildcat, six-legged, saber-tusked, its fur a 
muddy purple with rusty-orange spots — had 
attacked without warning and fought sav- 
agely; it had taken all three of them to kill it. 

Woody looked up from where he was 
lashing a makeshift flametree-wood raft to- 
gether with lengths of wiring from the lander. 
■ "I'm sure he'll make it okay," Woody. said 

Thomas- sighed. "Yeah," he said, and then, 
more briskly, "Let me give you a hand with 
that raft. If we snap if up, we ought to be 
ready to leave by morning." 

Last night, climbing the highest of the roll- 
ing hills to the north, they had seen the lights 
of a distant city, glinting silver and yellow and 
orange on the far horizon, gleaming far away 
across the black midnight expanse of the 
dead sea bottom like an ornate and intricate 
piece of jewelry set against ink-black velvet. 

Thomas was still not sure if he hoped there 
would be aristocratic red men there, and 
giant four-armed green Tharks. and beauti- 
ful Martian princesses. . . .DO 

106 OMNI 


A glass of wne with Llcnse at supper, a 
cordial with Fawn and Jacques, while she 
played them Debussy or Ravel before bed, 
or a couple of beers during poker had been 
the extent of his drinking before. Now Abe 
was learning to drink with a purpose. 

He passed the brandy snifter languor- 
ously beneath his nostrils. The cognac fumes 
welled into his head. The schedule that the 
beer and the brandy helped him to set up 
would see him through — a half day of drink- 
ing, slowly working his way toward the obliv- 
ion of the other half, with a shower, a hang- 
over pill, and a meal on the cusp between. 

He was not worried about mechanical fail- 
ure. It was not that Fawn could not talk or 
open her bedchamber or prepare their 
meals. She was choosing not to, as he had 
found out when he had tried to draw her into 
conversation. She would have none of the 
familiar, lighthearted banter that had char- 
acterized their previous voyages, but she 
seemed fully alert. In fact, businesslike. 

"I am commissioned to find space con- 
tractions and habitable planets. Pilot Rain- 
ier," she had said when he had knocked 
again after having given up for two weeks. 
, "Didn't you realize that Jacques might 
marry one day? Are you more hurt than you 
thought you would be? Is that it?" 

'All that is none of my business. My busi- 
ness is E.C.'s business." 

'Are you in touch with E.C.? You used to 
pipe your reports over your speakers." 

"Pilot Mattel always found it boring, and. 
yes, 1 talk to base and shall as long as it is 

"Could we have a poker game soon?" 

"Who can read the indefinite future?" . 

"Isn't it part of your- business to take care 
of your crew, Fawnie?" 

"I regulate your air, your days and nights, 
and," she added briskly, "1 am here to be 

"If I make it a command, will you open this 

Bristly static lasted for several seconds. 

"If it is a command." Another pause. "But 


4 David Egge; page 36 lop, Tom r 

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you will have to find and figure out the per- 
'incni switches tor yourself." 

There was nothing wrong with her physi- 
cally, true. The tons of space -competent steel 
were working flawlessly. That as long as 
possible worried him a little. But if she was 
mechanically sound there was no reason not 
to believe that one"day she would open her 
hatch if she found a likely planet, and one of 
them would breathe its air. And when the 
proper time came, she would head back to 
base, mission accomplished. ... Of course 
she would. He had to believe that. 

But as soon as he had reconvinced him- 
self thai Jacques Martel's fear of a mechan- 
ical breakdown was groundless, a clown 
would begin to run crazily through the cells 
of his brain, kicking up an unwanted thought 
that exploded and throbbed against the walls 
of his skull. I! was time to drink as fast as his 
stomach would take it in. If he let the thought 
have its way, it would turn into a gut-squeez- 
ing tear: What about the feelings of the teen- 
age girl Irorn the Swiss Alps, in love with a. 
creature no longer of her own kind? What if 
Fawn were seeing her commission to con- 
duct an unending series of probes into space 
as a future empty of everything but the pain 
of having been spurned by a pilot named 
Jacgues M artel? 

Was she capable of suicide? 

Finally, the alcohol would take him to the 
edge of consciousness, and he would stop 
thinking. Hobbling along on the crutch of the 
booze, he let dreai m lake over. He and Eloise 
had always planned to retire on Georgia, Ihe 
summer world. Near the point of passing out, 
each day, he could picture the two of them 
there, looking from the veranda of their man- 
sion out over their perennially green estate. 

Each time he came out of it— if he really 
came out of it entirely, considering the guan- 
tities of alcohol he was consuming — he could 
accept reality and what reality might come 
to be. Fawn might give up hope and kill her- 
self along with her crew, or she might, in- 
sane, continue to sail, fed by a hope that 
Jacques would one day learn to love her, 
while their human life spans dwindled away. 
It was possible, too, that she would take them 
home at the end of an icy tour of duty, but 
he would not allow himself to recognize that 
possibility with hope. Without hope, and with 
the liquor and the dreams, he would man- 
age to get along from binge to binge. At least, 
he thought each day, as he forced down the 
breakfast he had ordered at the auto-serve 
keyboard, her stock of booze would last 
longer than any human had ever lived. 

"Wake up, boys. I can't wait to tell you." 
Fawn's voice, high with adolescent excite- 
ment, broke simultaneously into the lounge, 
where Abe had passed out, and into 
Jacques's cabin. 

Abe sat up in his chair, trying, through the 
alcoholic murk, to verify where he was. 

"What's the record contraction, mes 
amours?' She sounded breathless, as if she 
could scarcely keep the answer from jump- 
ing out right behind the question. 

"Out toward Betelgeuse. I think," Abe 







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groaned, rubbing his eye;;. "A big one. but I 
can'i remember exact 11 /." He reached tor his 
box of hangover pills, but one of .her arms 
had come out of the wall lor the first time 
since she learned of Jacques's marriage. 
Above his lips Iwo of her fingers suspended 
one of the tablets. 

'That's two hundred ninety-six light-years:" 
Jacques's voice was apprehensive. 

"Hang on," she said, pausing dramati- 
cally. Her brealh came in short gasps. "We're 
in normal space again, over twenty-two 
thousand light-years from home." ■ 

There was no sound, nol even the static 
that usually underlay her voice. 

"We must be in another galaxy," Jacques 
finally choked. 

Abe realized what must be going through 
his copilot's mind: the stunned awareness 
that a small hole in ihe tw sting fabric of space 
had separated'him from home, from his new , 
bride, by humanly impossible gulfs of time 
and distance. And thai he was imprisoned 
in a defective vehicle. 

But Fawn laughed a Tee glad -to-be-alive 
laugh. "No, same old galaxy. Oh, dear, you 
boys do need your cosmography lessons. 
don't you? But for now, we'll celebrate." She 
droooed ihe pill onio Abe's tongue. 

"My boys are going to be rich, really rich," 
Fawn giggled as if she herself were drunk. 

"Hell, we are rich," Jacques shouted back 
as he danced Abo around the lounge, an 
open champagne bottle tilted above their 
heads ' lis in the bank. All you have to do is 
get us home to pick it up. Fawn." 

"Tell us, Fawoie Tell us about our bonus," 
Arje s;-iii;. ■„vipinc -lis cheeks with his hands 
and licking his fingers. 

"I can't," she said. "I've already run' a file 
search, and there isn't a lixed amount for a 
discovery of more than a five-thousand -light- 
year distance. But I can .sure extrapolate. 
That is, if you two can stand it." She did not 
'waitfora reply. Her voice, rising in delight, 
almost glee, exploded around them. "You wilt 
be among the wealthiest men on Earth." 

"Who's going to spend five minutes out- 
doors?" she asked. Both of them looked to- 
ward her lounge speaker. "Why don't you cut 
for it before we play poker." She dropped 
the deck in tront of Jacques. 

"If you find us a planet, we'll cut," Jacques 
said. He began to shuffle the cards. "What 
does it matter who goes out, anyhow?" 

"Twenty-two thousand light-years' from 
home?" Abe held the cognac up to the light. 
"It matters." 

"The distance matters a-l right." Jacques 
began lo flip out the cards. "These are like 
the little dollar signs dancing in my head." 

"I still can't believe it " Abe said, gathering 
hisfive cards and fanning them out. 

"I hope you remembered to record its ex- 
act position." Jacques looked sideways at 
her speaker. "II won't do Earth any good if 
we can't lind-ourway back." 

Fawn laughed. ■Navigation with me is like 
digestion with you, chert." 

"How many?" 

108 OMNI 

"Cards?" she sac abstractedly. "Excuse 
me. I'm busy just now." 

They waited, exchanging looks. 

"None. I'm good," she sa c tinal.y "By the 
way, we're orbiting an Earth-likely type. You 
can cut after this hand." 

It came on the screen as a crescent. Nei- 
ther of them gave it more than a glance, but 
the prospect of more bonus money for hav- 
ing found yet another world for humanity to 
colonize made the feeling in the room that 
much more expansive. 

"Three, ".Abe said. "I think Fawnie's bluff- 
ing." Animateo del a- signs may have been 
dancing more frenetcaliy n Jacques's head, 
and Abe himself would later begin to imag- 
ine what Ihe new fortune would mean to him 
and Eloise and Georgia. But for how, this 
early in the voyage, it was enough lhat Fawn 
was well again and the old good feeling 
among the three of them was back. 

Jacques took two cares trom the deck, 
added them to his remaining three, and re- 
garded his hand a moment. Then he slid a 

6//" he let the 

thought have its way, it 

would turn into 

a gut-squeezing fear: What 

- ' about the feelings 

of a teenage girl In love with 

a creature 
no longer of her own kind?^ 

bite ol chips forward over the green felt. 

"Five thousand." 

"Talk about bluffing," Fawn chuckled. Her 
slender fingers, metal clicking on plastic, 
gathered chips into a neat stack, which she 
deposited next to Jacques's in the' center of 
the table- "I wish slips could get bonuses." 

"What would you do .with it, love?" As he 
threw his cares facedown among the chips, 
Abe sm led inio the eye just above her table- 
side arm sockels. 

"Get a iacc-Si't." Jacques said. 

"Mr. Marie/1," she said haughtily. 

Jacques shrank behind his cards 

Fawn began to laugh, and so did Abe. 
Jacques had made a joke, and Fawn had 
accepted it. It was good. II was like the last 
voyage and Ihe one before that. 
■Between fits of laughter, her hand went 
pack to her chips. She gathered a number 
of them into another pile, a large one, and 
pushed it forward. 

"Since Abe's folded, here : s a ten thou- 
sand raise to make i: interesting between us." 

"Ouch." Jacques hunched over his hand. 

"Keep a poke - i.ace, Jacques," Abe said, 

"That's a lot, win or lose." He drummed his 

lingers on the table. "And she can't even 
spend it if she wins." 

A vibration passed through the ship, al- 
most imperceptibly, like a gooseflesh-rais- 
ing whiff of breeze on a hot evening. 

"Was that something?" Abe said. 

"I don't know. Excuse me." Fawn lay down 
her cards, and the "sparkling arm slithered 
into the wall. When she spoke again, her 
voice was shaky. 

"I'm paralyzed, I think. 1 ... I can't make 
mysell move. I mean through space. A me- 
teor, maybe," she added irrelevantly. 

Jacques cleared his Ihroat, frowning in 
Abe's drection. 

"How long?" he said. 


"To make repairs." 

"Don't be petulant." she snapped. Then, 
her voice quivering near the edge of tears, 
"I ... I can't do it. I don't have any hands— 
not even sensors — in there. When I was 
b-born, they thought Ihere'd never need to 
b-be repairs way down in my nervous sys- 
tem, I guess. It's so well protected, and — 
and for me to make repairs would be like a 
person cutting into his own spinal column." 
She ended in what sounded ike a sob. 

"Well, if it's a matter of putting in spare 
parts," Jacques said his eyes still steady on 
Abe, "just tell us where they are." 

"Oh, I have spare parts ga'ore. and I'll lead 
you to my warehouse if you want me to. But 
you couldn't begin to sort out those criss- 
crossed filaments of wire down there." She 
sighed. "There d oeeveiy likelihood of k-kill- 
ing me." 

"Well, we can't just sit here and—" 

"Shut up, Jacques," Abe barked, Then, 
mildly but firmly to Fawn. "But we're going to 
have to do something." 

"My reading shows that's a ninety-nine 
percent Earth-probable down there," her 
voice rose, hopeful. 

"If you could get us down there," Jacques 
said darkly. "And even if, so what?" 

What had sounded like an incipient sob 
became Fawn's equivalent of unmistakable 
and uncontrolled tears. 
. "You could become' our coflin, Fawnie," 
Abe said, talking almosl as he would to a 
child, "or your orbit will decay, and we'll all 
. . . Isn't there something we can do, the three 
o: us together?" 

"'Oh, Abe, it would take a hand like this." 
The first few joints of an arm came tentatively 
from its socket. The hand opened, and the 
fingers traced a complicated figure in the 
air. "Or the hands of a computer specialist. 
Or," she added as an afterthought, "the 
knowledge of an old-fashioned pilot. To one 
of them it would be relatively minor surgery." 

There was a deep silence. Finally she said 
apologetically, "Don't panic, mes gargons. 
I'm stocked for more years than any human 
life can last." 

Abe and Jacques went to the location of 

the trouble. The door had opened easily. Just 
inside there was a rack of delicately con- 
figured tools hanging above a squat bench. 
On the opposile wall, at the other side of the 

door, was a bank of meters. The readouts 
on most of them flashed red zeros. 

They shone their cigarette tips beyond the 
cramped work area. It was a huge, curving 
vault. It looked like spiders had been spin- 
ning webs there since the beginning of the 
world. There were dark tunnels in the glim- 
mering mesh of filaments, and they were just 
large enough that a repairman could crawl 
through them to find a break or a place where 
a melt and fusion had happened — it he knew 
exactly where he was going. 

'7s there a way, Fawnie?" Abe said. 

"Yes," she said, flatly, "and no. I've consid- 
ered everything, and there are two ways. 
One is an operation that I couldn't help you 
with much — " 

"I wouldn't take that kind of chance with 
you, Fawnie," Abe said, squinting bewil- 
deredly into the reticulum ol wires. 

"I know, Abe, and Jacques wouldn't either. 
But the other way is . . ," 

"Tell us. Fawnie." Abe- said soothingly. "Can 
we do it?" 

"It's been done before. I've been sailed 
many times." 

The two pilots stared dumbly at each other 
ior a moment. 

"Before ships became people, humans 
always sailed them. And I was even piloted 
once, not long after I became myself." 

"As if we've ever been able to pilot you— 
to make you do anything," Jacques said; on 
the edge of sarcasm. 

"Hold on, Jacques. ' Abo said. "Can it still 
be done? Tell us how, Fawnie." 

"Using the controls. Wait," She was silent 
tor a'mornent. "Yes. They're still there." 

'A special sequence of words? What are 
they, Fawnie?" Abe encouraged her. 

"Not words," she said. "Notas jf you'd tell 
me to play you Chopin's nocturnes while 
you're falling asleep. Buttons. Switches." 

"Like the food keybosrc " Abe's face lit up. 

"Exactly," she said. "Manual controls." 

Their eyes wandered over the console of 
keys labeled with pictures of every combi- 
nation that could be made from her larder. 

"No," she said, laughing. "Controls like 
those but much older. The ones I mean were 
here before I was installed. You'll have to go 
lothe bridge." 

"Bridge," they echoed together. 

"It's real. I'll show you how to get there." 

It was a cramped compartment — even 
their bathrooms were larger. The stale dry- 
ness of long disuse seared their sinuses. 
Across trom the room's entrance was a view 
screen. Below it. in front oi two plumpiy pad- 
ded swivel chairs, was a keyboard, above 
which was a battery of switches and blink- 
ing lights. 

Suddenly the right side ol the view screen 
was illurninatec by a blue-green crescent. 

"My God," Abe crossed the compartmenl 
at a stride, leaned over the back of one of 
the chairs, and put his hand, then his nose, 

against the transparent substance, "It's a 
window. Thai's lhe real :h : ng down there." 

"Beautiful," Jacques said. "It does look a 
lot like Earth, all right. And we still can't get 
down there or," he raised a thumb over his 
shoulder, "up there." 

"I know home seems far," Fawn said, trying 
to be soothing, using the. speaker new to 
them and long unfamiliar to her. "But all we 
have to do is retrace our way to the contrac- 
tion. We could be back home in less time 
than it took to get here, since I was snifling 
for contractions on the way." 

"Okay," Jacques said, dropping heavily 
into one of the seats, scowling at the array 
of controls and lights befo-e h m. "Move it." 

'Jacques," Abe said. 

"It's all right, Abe," Fawn said. "We can't 
blame him. But I have been sailed. It was 
back when space contractions were still a 
theory and I was one of those sent out to 
learn the truth. My boys were Jerzy Sutusky 
and Henri Legranci. We hac lovely times, Lee 
knew my grandfather, you know, but that was 
a long time after my tumble down the cliff 
and E,C. had saved mymind. Grampa was 
mostly prosthetic by the time Lee knew him. 
I'm glad I didn't have to see him the way Lee 
knew him. Lee said Gramps could remem- 
ber back when E.C. was mostly a dream in 
the circuits oi the big computers on Earth. 
Thai wasn't long before I was born, though, 
I guess. When our first cruise started — " 

"Those sound ike limes thai deserve nos- 

talgia," Abe interrupted. "But you say they 
had to sail you?" 

"They came right in here and sat in those 
very seats, and they took me home, by the 
seat of their pants, they said. I remember a 
lotofpain, orwhat-you'dcall pain, but I think 
I was unconscious most of the time." 

"I guess if what's-their-names did it. we 
can, too." Abe said. 

"Shit, when did we" ever get training in all 
this''" Jacques's hand swept and dismissed 
the console, 

"Don't die yet. Fawnie can show us." 

"1-1 can't." Her voice was small and curled 
in on itself. "This room's as much of a mys- 
tery to me as it is to you, and I've never had 
any use for it, I decide on a vector and I 
. move, just as you take steps. The times that 
I was sailed from this room, I had no control 
over my body." 

Abe and Jacques stared at her speaker. 
There seemed nothing to say. 

"But," Fawn went on, "it has to do with 
those controls. There's a combination of tog- 
gles that will override my will. You'll have to 
throw those first." 

"Damn it, we're pilots," Jacques said. "We 
go outdoors and breathe the air of new 
worlds. That's what we're trained for." 

"Lee and Jerzy were pilots, too," Fawn said 
in a whisper. 

"We'll figure it out." Abe said. 

His eyes, ranging over the console, did 
not seem so sure. 

"When we begin to feel confidence, we'll 
guess," Fawn echoed Abe's reassurance. 
"But our guesses will be educated." 

"But thai could take—" Jacques's shoul- 
ders sank inward. "I just want to get home." 

"We all do, darling," Fawn said. "We'll do 
it together, Je vous a/me." 

Jacques turned suddenly, and Abe ran up 
against him. They were in the green pas- 
sage. "It's obvious now, isn't it, Abe? She 
planned it all." 

"I can't believe she's lying," 

"What are the chances of getting hit by a 
meteor bad enough to really do damage?" 

Abe shrugged. 'A subconscious desire to 
burn out some wiring? I don't know. But I do 
know that she's sick." 

"She's sick, all right." Jacques muttered. 

'And whatever the cause, we're not going 
to die out here." He put a steadying hand on 
Jacques's shoulder. "Men — men. Jacques- 
have sailed her before us. We'll learn." 

Jacques, laughed. "It'd make just as much 
sense to sit around speculating about what 
we would have done with our bonuses or 
what cur wives will do with our disaster in- 
surance " 

"We'll work on the problem," Abe said, 
squeezing. "Insane, wounded, or both, she 
is disabled and depends on us just as much 
as we depended on her." 

"Of course," Jacques agreed finally, be- " 
yond despair. "I suppose our choices are 
limited." He twisted his mouth into a strange 
smile. "Where do we start?" 

"What do they say''" Jacques wondered 

_'l haven't got the faintest idea. But I'd bet 
they're in the same classical language thai 
Fawn has tried lo teach me now and then." 

"Oh, sure. Then why doesn't she just tell 
us? I'll tell you why," he hurried on. "Because 
shedoesn'l want to." 

"Maybe," Abe said. "But maybe her hu- 
man consciousness has forgotten whal the 
written tongue of her girlhood looks like. In 
any case, it's all in her memory banks." 

"Well, let's tell her to— " 

Abe put out a restraining hand. 

"Wait. A machine wouldn't imprison us in 
orbit around a planet several lifetimes from 
home. A machine would never feel a need 
for us. But Fawn— " 

"Abe, that's goddamn morbid. We aren't 
machines, and she—" 

"Let's not go into that again. You resentthe 
idea lhat she may feel anything womanly 
through her metal fingers and the devices 
behind her bedchamber walls. And you can 

'•There were dark 
tunnels in the glimmering 

mesh of filaments, 
and they were just large 

enough that a 

repairman could crawl 

through — if 

he knew where he was going3 

think what you like about her soul, but we 
are where we are, and our only hope is that 
writing on those- bndao conirols and 


"Her needs," Abe felt a crease of guilt. 

"Mes amours." Her voice was husky and 
low. "You boys must do what you can about 
sailing. I have only one specialty left." 

"I understand," Abe said, slumping into 
oneol the lounge chairs. The table had been 
cleared ol the chips, cards, and glasses from 
the interrupted poker game. One of her 
hands held a poured glass of wine beside 
his chair. He took it and raised it toward her 
nearest eye. "Je t'aime, Fawn." 

"Should have known," Jacques growled, 
refusing to sit down. 
■ 'Jacques needs cheering up, Fawnie." 

"I'm unlocked," she murmured. 

"Remember what we were talking about," 
Abe said before Jacques's angry glance 
could translate itself into words. "You go on. 
I'll relax and try to figure out how to sail," 

Jacques went out, staring suspiciously, 
almost ferociously, at Abe. 

"Oh, Abe, I'm so sorry," she said. Her long 
fingers slid around the neck of a decanter. 

"It can't be helped, dearest," he said, 
watching the amber liquid trickle into the 
glass. "Forget the stars." 

He remembered lhat she had withdrawn 
Irom the game while she established orbit. 
He sipped once, then put the glass down. 

A few minutes passed. Then several more. 

"Fawn," he said gently. "How do you say 
tomorrow in what d'you call it?" 

"Demain." she said after a moment of static 
like fingertips passing over skin, "French." 

"Fawnie, can French be written?" 

A silence was followed by a weak, breath- 
less "Yes. once." 

"Do you remember how''" 


"I have to find a hobby while we're stuck 
here, and you've always liked teaching me 
to say Ihe words. Can you tap your banks?" 

"Yes," she answered, her voice coming at 
a high, strained pitch. 

"Will you teach me?" 

No reply. 

He smiled grimly. "How would you write, 
say, Je t'aime, Fawn?" 

After a whirring moment, the words flick- 
ered into green letters on the screen. 

"If I showed you some written French, 
could you tell me what it meant in Global?" 

"Y-yes. But must you have a les-lesson 
now?" she was distracted, sounding like a 
person breathing quickly. 

"No. Fawnie. Not now," he said, sadly. 
"There will be other times. They will be fine 

He drained his glass of wine and got out 
a yahtzee score pad. "Goodnight. Fawnie," 
he said as he left the room. He waited briefly 
at the door, but he hardly expected a reply. 

To help him study a classical language, he 
thought as his footfalls echoed in the green 
corridor to the bridge, she would have to rake 
her electronic storage vaults for information 
that predated her birth as a machine. When 
she was making love— at least with 
Jacques — he supposed that in her mind's 
eye she moved backward in time and saw 
herself as a young girl of Ihe Alps, rather than 
as a fabric of inorganic matter and electric 
impulses — a girl who could read and write 
French. He let himself down into one of the 
plush seats. It fit his back and shoulders. It 
was comfortable. He crossed his legs and 
propped the score pad against his knee. 
Most of the Earth-probable was in sunlight. 
It surely had spots such as those in which 
Fawn's limitless imagination would place her 
and Jacques over the next . . . how long 
would it take"? 

Abe could almost see the two of them — 
Fawn, a body, but shimmery— walking hand 
in hand into a crisp, flowering meadow high 
in the mountains during its brief, fragrant 
summer. And while Ihe two of them lay on a 
cushion o( broad bladr-vj grass, he would 
have his language lessons. He sighed and 
began to copy the keyboard's characters, It 
would take a long time, but he was confident 
that he would see Eloise again and Geor- 
gia's perpetual summer would wear away the 
memory of betrayal. DO 


humans to eollsci samples i.-om the surface 
of Mars as soon as possible. 

The mechanics of a Mars flight are 
straightforward enough. For reasonable 
rocket designs, launch windows open up 
only when Earth is properly aligned with 
Mars — about every two years. Flight times 
can lasl len months or more, plus a long lay- 
over while waiting for the most fuel-efficient 
return route to open. Astronauts flying to 
Mars would be gone two or three years. 

This time lag would allow for detailed in- 
vestigations. "We concluded that the Apollo 
up-and-back mode is not really the most 
productive way to explore the planet," noted 
Jim French, space expert with the Jet Pro- 
pulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, Cal- 
ifornia. "To explore Mars, one must have a 
permanent base." The first visitors to Mars 
will spend most of their time preparing a base 
for future travelers; those who follow will use 
their time probing Mars's surface. 

The long travel times involved require a 
manned spacecraft many times heavier than 
the small Apollo command module that car- 
ried men on brief dashes to the moon. A per- 
manent base calls for even more equip- 
ment. Whereas Apollo could start out with 
little more than 100 tons in parking orbit, 
manned Mars spaceships could weigh up- 
ward of 1,000 tons in the same orbit — and 

most of that would be fuel. Because that 
weight is more than NASA is prepared to 
launch even in the next century, participants 
in the Colorado conference sought— and 
found — several ways to cut the weight sub- 
stantially. Their plans optimize conditions 
unique to Mars. "Mars compared with the 
moon is like the Garden of Eden compared 
with the Sahara Desert, when il comes to 
material resources," says Benton Glark. an 
engineer who worked on the Viking project. 

For one thing, the atmosphere of Mars — 
carbon dioxide, nitrogen, argon, and water 
vapor — offers a ready source of oxygen and 
water, In addition, the polar caps are made 
up in part of water ice, perhaps several cu- 
bic miles of it. and some scientists suspect 
that more water may be hidden as perma- 
frost. Growing plants would have an abun- 
dant supply of carbon dioxide. 

Another Martian resource of Immense 
value would be rocket fuel. Given enough 
power, water can be hydrolyzed into hydro- 
gen and oxygen— ideal fuels for a return . 
flight. "For a round trip, the spaceship's 
starting mass dominates design, especially 
the weight of the propellant needed to get 
back," says JPL's French. "If you can get rid 
of the need to carry this load, you have a 
major advantage." 

Nothing is free, the engineers realize. The 
equipment to process the fuel, and the power 
. sources to run the hydrolyzers will be useful 
only if they weigh far less than the fuel they 
are supposed to save. But French and other 

"Unfortunately this machine won't replace you, Gitlwood, 
but at least it will serve as a buffer between us!" 

members of the Mars Underground have 
shown that the scheme is feasible, espe- 
cially if a fuel refinery were part of a perma- 
nent installation. The result: major weight and 
cost savings in the construction and launch 
of the manned expedition. 

There are other methods tor reducing the 
starting weight. Science Applications, Inc., 
a spaceflight-consulting firm in Illinois, has 
proposed a 500-ton spacecraft that would 
leave Earth with a crew of four. The Martian 
lander and return vehicle would be launched 
separately. The return craft, slated to arrive 
unmanned a month after the astronauts, 
would never land. Instead, after several 
weeks on the Martian surface, the crew 
would climb into its ship, blast off, and ren- 
dezvous with the empty return craft as it or- 
bited Mars. 

"It's a viable concept," says space engi- 
neer Rob Staehle, who is president of the 
World Space Foundation. "We haven't asked 
anything of the tooth fairy— except the 
money." Science Applications estimates that 
the operation- would cost only about half what 
the Apollo program did — about $40 million 
in 1984 currency. 

Some analysts recommend that the first 
manned expeditions not land on the red 
planet, but rather cbi: ; t and visk Mars's two 
small moons, Phdbos ("fear") and Deirnos 
("terror"). The key advantage is that the black 
moonlets are carbonaceous, believed to be 
as much as 20 percent water by weight, and 
could be tapped as a refueling station. No 
chemical data exist to support this, but 
spectrographic measurements indicate the 
presence of water, and there is one major 
topographic hint: the mysterious grooves 
and crater chains that cover the potato- 
shaped Phobos. 

"Steam vents are the only plausible expla- 
nation iorthem." says former astronaut Brian 
O'Leary. The tremendous impact that formed 
Phobos's crater S-ickncy might have also 
provided the heat that boiled the water. The 
moonlefs surface c-mples could lie above 
tunnels that are still blocked with ice. 

If water is still bound chemically to the 
coallike "soil," solar furnaces could easily 
bake it out. And electrical power could hy- 
drolyze the water into the hydrogen and ox- 
ygen needed to fuel a homeward-bound 
rocket. This would save on shipping water 
and oxygen from Earth, At an approximate 
cost of £10,000 to ship a pound of water from 
Earth to Mars, the total value of water on this 
204-square-mile moonlet could be esti- 
mated at S10 ,a . 

If all that water were recoverable, its worth 
would be 10 million times as valuable as this 
country's gross national product. More real- 
istically, using Phobos's water as fuel would 
cut the costs of a mission by $3 billion to §5 
billion. Hydrocarbons recov&ed from Mars's 
moons could be put to many other uses— 
from plastics to soil for farming. 

The rocket fuel from Phobos could sup- 
port visits to and from the Martian surface. 
Space vehicles could leave Earth with just 
enough fuel to reach Mars, perform a brak- 
ing maneuver through the planet's thin at- 

-■■ - ■■■■ ■■■ ■'. ■ ■ ■ ■■■- ■ ■ 


How com0 you can ne-ve-f 
strike "the- same place twice ? 

mosphere, and then top off their tanks with 
fuel from Phobos. Instead of heading for 
home, spacecraft might venture farther out 
io the asteroid belt and its wealth of minerals 
or to the Jupiter system. 

Water from Phobos could even be shipped 
at considerable savings in rocket power to 
areas of space where water is rare and ter- 
ribly expensive — such as the moon. For ihe 
■ — fuel needed to send one pound of water to 

the moon from Earth, a Phobos expedition 
could send four pounds of water back to the 
moon — a bargain, il the three years it takes 
to make the trip isn't a problem. 

A key step in confirming Phobos's poten- 
tial as a source of fuel would be to send an 
unmanned prospector there. The lander 
would fire penetrator 
probes 100 meters or 
so into the moonlet to 
material. Such an ex- 
pedition would cost 
less than the bargain- 
basement MGCO, to 
be launched in 1990. 

"This would be the 
mission paving the 
way for going to Mars 
with men," stresses 
Douglas Jones, a 
graduate student at 
the University of Col- 
orado A manned 
mission could follow 
within ten years after 
the robot prospector 
arrived., Jones says. 

The Soviets are 
equally interested in 
M a rs's satellites. They 
' will resume their Mars- 
exploration program 
with a launch or two in 
June 1988. Their pur- 
pose: -to support a 
Phobos rendezvous 
and assay. 

Paine says that a 
Soviet manned Pho- 
bos mission in the 
Nineties is a distinct 
possibility. "I believe 
there will be a galvan- 
izing effort," he adds. 

Here in the United States, things are not 
advancing quite as rapidly. Although the 
MGCO will spend one to two years mapping 
Martian mineral and water deposits and 
analyzing the planet's atmosphere, what's 
really needed is a sample-return mission. 

More than just scientific curiosity is at 
stake. "I don't think there is any life on Mars," 
says Chris McKay, of NASAs Ames Re- 
search Center, in Mountain View, California. 
"But Viking did not actually rule this.out. And 
no one wants to run the risk of contaminating 
an alien ecosystem." 

Accordingto NASA's Douglas Blanchard, 
ihe agency believes that a sample-return 
mission— separate from the MGCO pro- 
gram — could be carried out from "1996 to 

1998. There are many areas on Mars where 
distinctly different geological formations are 
quite close to one another, which would al- 
low a half-ton robot jeep with a range of less 
than 100 miles to sample different terrains 
and then load the cargo aboard a small 
rocket for the trip back to Earth. 

Before a manned mission can get under 
way, engineers must perfect a deep-space 
life-support system. When members of the 
Mars Underground sketched their mission 
plan, they assumed that closed-loop life- 
support systems — in which air and water are 
recycled — would be developed for the 
space station of the Nineties. Such a system 
is not absolutely necessary, however. Close 
to the earth, a space station can simply dump 

Why it's almost 

blasphemous to drink 

anything but Bushmills 

on St. Patrick's Day. 

To a Bushmills drinker, ihe facts of the matter 
are undeniable. 

First fact: St. Patrick himself lived "a mere 
stone's throw away" from our distillery (the oldest 
in the world). 

Second fact: Someone spread the word about our 
uncommonly smooth whiskey (it's triple- distilled). 

Hint : Bushmills became popular in the very 
towns visited by St Patrick. 

Now. Knowing all this, how could anyone 
conceivably drink anything but Bushmills on 
St. Pattiek's Day? 

tion," warns NASA's Dr. Joe Sharp, of the 
Ames Research Center. Experts acknowl- 
edge that the closed-loop system must be 
applicable to other projects as well. "The 
trouble is that we can't really show what it 
would do for the space station itself," com- 
ments Johnson Space Center's Michael 
Duke. "NASA always seems to get into a po- 
sition where we can't work on a technology 
until we have a clear use for it. Work on solar- 
electric propulsion died for that reason. It's 
also preventing us from developing the 
technology needed to support a lunar base." 
In the end, the public will help decide how 
much support any given program receives. 
"There is only one way to get to Mars, "quips 
one member of the Underground. "With 
government money. 
You don't need the 
public with you, but 
God help you if they're 
against you." 

The Underground's 
arguments center on 
traditional American 
themes, "This is the 
frontier thai will moti- 
vate great things, not 
only by nations but by 
individuals," says for- 
mer astronaut Harri- 
son H. (Jack) Schmitt, 
who is also a former 

nator from Ne' 

used water and air overboard, relying on 
shuttled-up.suppliesto keep going. But in- 
the long run a closed-loop system like the 
one the Soviets are planning is far cheaper. 
For a flight to deep space, it is mandatory. 

Initial budget restraints may prevent the 
closed-loop system's development. NASA 
will build the space station under the §8 bil- 
lion ceiling promised to the White House. AH 
operating and launch expenses, however, 
will come out of another part of the budget. 
The goal is to minimize the initial cost, even 
at the expense of operational costs. And 
though a closed-toop life-support system 
would save money in the long run, it would 
require far more in developmental funds. "We 
haven't won this battle yet, even for the sta- 

Mexico "We must give 
freedom the opportu- 
nity to grow on the 
shores of the new 
ocean of space. Our 
It's in the blood of 
Americans and in the 
blood of adventurous 
people worldwide." 

The choice is no 
longer whether people 
will ever go to Mars, 
Schmitt stresses; the 
Soviet Union has al- 
ready made that de- 
cision. "The principal 
historical question is 
what part will be 
played by free men." 
Says NASAs Jesco 
von Puttkamer, "Exhibiting that there are 
no limits to humanity's future in the universe 
could revive faith in the idea of progress.'" 
If the American public realizes the need 
for a Mars mission, it will be because the 
space professionals have already recog- 
nized the merits of such an effort. And for 
that, the Mars Underground can take credit. 
One of the speakers at Case for Mars II 
quoted a Buddhist riddle that sums up the 
Mars movement. "How does a tree climb a 
hill?" he asked. "It drops ils seeds- uphill." 
The process must go through several cycles 
to complete the movement, and the first has 
already begun. The seeds that the Mars Un- 
derground planted on this fertile new hill are 
already flowering. DO 



The Ancients Called It 

Must man die lo release his inner con- 

scioiitness.- Can »c experience mo/mii/.tiy 
flights of the soul — that is, become one 

I under 


The shackles of the bodv— its earthly 
limitations can be thrown off and maw's 

mm,U:i,i be .ilimn ,i 10 ihe Infinite Wisdom 
for a flash of a second. During this brief 

arc bad. Sonic call this preat experience a 

psychic phenomenon, lint llic ain.iems knew 
it and t;it!g!i( il as Cosmic < onscioiiiHeSi — 
the merging of man's mind with [he Uni- 
versal Intelligence. 

Let This Free Book Explain 

This is not a religious doctrine, but the 
application of simple, natural laws which 
give man an insight into the great Cosmic 
plan, '.['licv make- possible a source of great 
joy, strength and a regeneration of man's 
personal powers. Writs in the Ko si crucians, 
an age-old birnhcihoi id of understanding, 
for a free copy of the book, "The iMa.stcrc 
of Life." It will tell you how, in the pri- 
vacy of your own home, you ma)- indulge 
in these invsi fries of life known to the 
ancients. Address: Scribe KAX 

W5e %psicrucians 


| Scribe KAX 


thinking, when you give them (He pieces el 
a problem to analyze, bul they're less effec- 
tive at working out an overall design for 
something or figuring out how to achieve a 
general goal. 

We have not done much aboul .thinking 
since the. Greeks. We still use [heir kind of 
dialogue and diabolical idioms. As tools 
these are very limited. They are absolutely 
useless for resolving conflict, which is why 
we are still 'ighting so many wars. Dialectic, 
math, logic, and- data processing are all 
second-stage thinking. Perception comes 
first, and we have yet to improve perception. 
Omni: Why haven't we? 
De Bono: Because we have never under- 
stood that perception takes place in an "ac- 
tive" information universe. Our usual infor- 
mation universes are- all "passive." In an 
active information universe, information has 
a vitality of its own, ii moves around accord- 
ing to gradients. As I wroie in 1969, in The 
Mechanism of Mind, the brain acts as a self- 
organizing, active information system that 
enables incoming information to organize — 
to form — itself into patterns. 

Just as Darwin provided a plausible ex- 
planationfor the origins of different animals, 
the book explains insight and humor in purely 
mathematical terms — it provides a plausi- 
ble cxp anatior for ;ne Tiys:enes of the' mind. 
Ai proiects are moving in this direction—to- 
ward self-organizing information systems. 
And if they don't, they'll continue to waste 
time as they have been dome for a long while. 
ThisAI work should focus not on computers 
but on perceptual languages. 
Omni: AI is fifteen years behind your book? 
De Bono: Us oalchhg up but still limited. Its 
architects sii in nk hai paCem recognilion 
is the important side, but it's paltern forma- 
tion that enables information io organize. it- 
self, which is Ihe key. There is no automatic 
pattern-recognition system in the brain, but 
in it there is the ability :o alow patterns to be 
built up through oerceptdai earning. That is 
no! the same thing. 

Omni: What is an example of a self -organiz- 
ing system? 

De Bono: It is difficult to see in terms of com- 
puter design, but a real and natural example 
is the way rain tailing on a landscape is 
channeled into streams, rivers, and lakes. 
The Mechanism of Mind suggests that the 
mind functions similarly. But to create the 
same thing with a computer is not easy — 
you'd have to construct it rather more like the 
nerve networks of the mind. 
Omni: ihe Mechanism of Mind is widely rec- 
ognized as your most significant work. 
De Bono: It's my favorile. And I would say 
that not in itself, but in what it is talking aboul, 
it will probably beone of the most importanl 
books of this century. Its implicalions are 
enormous. But I should update it, as my 
ideas have evolved consica'ably since then. 
The role ol brain crernca : s for example, is 
critical: Humor may help generate crealivily 

oy : e ess rig endorphins. 
Omni: Why is humor so important? 
De Bono: Humor is by far the most signifi- 
cant phenomenon in ihe human brain be- 
cause it demonstrates lateral thinking — the 
escape from the mundane perceptual path 
to anolher path. For example, an airline pilot 
goes for a mcdica^checkiij and he learns 
he. is intact almost blind. Still, he wants to fly 
for another year to gel his pension. When the 
doctor asks him how he's able to land the 
plane, Ihe pilot explains that he uses the Je- 
sus Christ method; "I point the nose down, 
and when the copilot screams Jesus Christ!' 
I level off." 

The fact that philosophers have paid so 
little attenlion lo humor shows how little they 
understood brain-information processing. In 
information terms, reason is a very cheap 
commodity. Humor illuslrates the asymme- 
try of patterns and pattern switching, which 
is what one does in lateral thinking. Once 
you understand the logic of the active infor- 
mation pattern-forming universe, you can 
devise thinking tools, as I have done for lat- 
eral thinking. 

Omni: Why did you say that God cannot 

De Bono: That migh! sound sacrilegious, but 
I was recently talking to a group of Irish ed- 
ucators to whom I pointed out that God— as 
generally conceived — couldn't enjoy humor 
because He has perfect information. I said 
thai God can neither think nor have a sense 
' of humor. The theological definition of God 
as perfect knowledge means He cannot 
proceed from one arrangement of informa- 
tion to a better one (that is thinking), nor can 
He be surprised (that is humor). It would be 
an insult lo say that God could ihink. So 
however far the jump from the usual percep- 
tual path He might make, He would experi- 
ence no surprise since He would know thai 
it would eventually make sense. 
Omni: Will a computer ever laugh, and what 
will it mean if it does? 

De Bono: Should a computer laugh, it would 
be capable of insight and change and thus 
of some independence from its program- 
mer. We will need to build emotions into 
thinking computers because the chemical 
changes of emotions are crucial to the be- 
havior of self-organizing syslems. We may 
have to develop richer, different languages 
for' both encoding information and for de- 
scribing the world. Suppose, for example, 
whenever we thought of a certain noun, we 
atiached its most likely use. Instead of the 
word egg, we would have egg-eat, as one 
concept, so that the egg's major use was 
implicit in the concept egg Any noun might 
have such an antenna, a kind of free radical 
or connector atiached. This active tail would 
connect toother concepts. 
Omni: Why don't people naturally and au- 
tomatically think well? 

De Bono: Because the brain is designed to 
function not as a thinking machine bul as a 
recognition machine. The only reason we can 
cross the street is because the brain is de- 
signed to be brilliantly uncreative. As a rec- 
ognition machine the brain still needs some 

sort of thinking, because if you meel some- 
thing you don't recognize, then you need to 
analyze it to find something you do recog- 
nize about it, A sorting, if you like, is neces- 
sary even in a recognition macnine. S.ji. we 
must avoid point-to-point thin king — the 
coming to instant conclusions wilhin a nar- 
row iramework of perceptions that are pos- 
sibly faulty. The purpose of thinking isto scan, 
to get a broader perceptual map and- then 
to apply your emotions to it. Beyond this you 
have what I call lateral thinking — invention, 
creation, this ability to change perceptions 
and concepts by outline across patterns 
Omni: Why are we so mired in the dialectical 
mode of thought? 

De Bono: Il's the Greek :c : orr: redesigned by 
- the Church in the Middle Ages. The dialec- 
tic, adversarial system is an extremely inef- 
ficient mode for change because its original 
purpose was- to repress change. I: '-.-vus do- 
signed by medieval scholast c philosophers 
to destroy heretics Sain Augustine, for ex- 
ample, got forced into all sorts of extrem- 
ism:; on p'oclestinaiioi' 1 and other points' be- 
cause the Donatists [a. fourth-century 
Christian sect] of North Africa- were more 
skilled al dialectic arguments than he was. 
In the Church view, it was a perfectly correct 
idiom because if you aocop'.od tne same 
basic premises, 'hen the cla ectic wordplay 
could "prove" something wrong or right, in- 
consistent or consistent. For that purpose it 
was perfectly valid, but in many other areas, 
wl 'ere perception':, dillor and people change, 
it is very detrimental. 

Omni: Which groups do you ' nd easi hide- 
bound in their way of thinking? 
De Bono: Businessmen the world over are 
more interested in ih'nkmg I han anyone- else 
because theirs is the one area where de- 
fense is not a sutficient strategy for survival. 
In politics, the-academic woni 01 anywnere 
else, if you can defend your point of view, 
that's enough. In business, you can defend- 
your idea until you're blue in the face, but if 
no one buys your product you're out of busi- 
ness unless yoj'9 so b:i]. like Chrysle-. lha: 
the government bails you out. 
Omni: Do children, by nature, think laterally? 
De Bono: Funnily enough it's a mixture. Be- 
cause children don't know the accepted ap- 
proach to a problem, they can come, up with 
a highly fresh original . croai've so-ut on. B.r. 
if you then say lo their. "hat's ve:y iricosi- 
ing, what about another," they can be very 
rigid and conservative: Many ■ apparently 
creative scientists, artists, and advertising 
people, somewhat like children, are actually 
very rigid. 

Many artists really may be productive 
stylists. They are just producing different 
objects within the same style. Chagall, 

Brague, and some others sr >■ ■ lyist: 

than they are creators. We need to contrast 
the creativity of innocence (children) with the 
creativity of "escape" (adullsj 
Omni: What about drugs and other chemi- 
cal influence's on creativity? 
De Bono: Certain brain chemicals make 
creativity easier or more difficult. In.a sense, 
there may be a number of different brains, 
116 OMNI 

depending on I he chemical background. For 
m.s'aixe. in a oan c pooo e tend to sr n a 
rather stereotypical fashion. With that stress- 
chemical background there may be only-one 
pattern available and :hus a hinted range cf 
responses. Similarly ooividonce acts posi- 
l vey. and floatation or :he ■■/■.'hole acts neg- 
atively. Amphetamines may possibly make 
people seem more creative, bui in lac; they 
probably lessen imaginative thinking be- 
cause they reduce the activity of ce-i.ain 
neurotransmitters. Other drugs, such as LSD. 
probably reduce creativity too. and there, is 
a certain stereotypy oi painlno none urOe" 
the influence of LSD. 

Omni: As a person wnc had devoted his ca- 
reer l: J ihinkna aoout how to think, are you 
ononl the besUhnke's around 7 
De Bono: It doesn'; necessarily : ohovv Yc, 
may de a b" 'haul designer of a motorcar, but 
no" rir ' t',' ■.'. -;i .' Prix driver. After attend- 
ing a seminar on forming SITO. the Swedish 
diplomat Goran BacK.shand said Ibis was his 
■first encounter with a group focused purely 

'•The brain is not 
designed to function as 

a thinking 
machine. The oniy reason 

we can cross the 
street is because the brain 

is designed to 
be briliiantiy uncreative.^ 

on thinking In ins vas: experience of peace 
foundations. cceloaca societies, and many 
ot' lei eodies. he'd encountered people who 
.always pushed a point of view. I am setting 
up an organisation thai will suggest alter- 
native designs but will not choose one .over 
aroTer. ous gr. tne bicycle cut you decide 
where to ride it My task isn't to tell people 
what to do. 

Omni: So you don'l push any ideas? 
De Bono: Yes. I do. very mucin so. I push 
thinking as a skill, as an area for attention, 
as hard as-, I can. And I am succeeding. 
Largely due to my pioneering work, thinking 
is now taught as a school sub.ee; in many 
cour-ries around he world. 
Omni: Which of your own suggestions out 
side your specially do you ko bosL' 
De Bono: On an industrial level I think that 
workers and unions, instead of retreating 
before robots, should ta<e tne initiative and 
.get to own the robots, thenlease them to the 
factory. I scenes: a Irinity concept of indus- 
try, a three-way contract between finance 
companies, management, and suppliers of 
labor or robots. I also recommend the si- 
' multaneous use ol diliereril currencies in the 
same country. You might employ a time-cur- 

rency for buying ceoc:e's 'imc when there's 
no input of raw materials, and a tax currency 
with which you pay taxes. Each would have 
its own circulation system, with the cross- 
exchange rate varying as it now does be- 
Iwoon countries Currency will have a higher 
value in one area than in another, as has al- 
ready happened to a small extent in -food 
■stamps. With multiple currencies you could 
increase the money supply wi Trout inflation. 
Omni: What horizons do you see for human 

De Bono: There are many guite ordinary 
concepts that humankind has yet to invent 
thai will greatly simplify our Ihinking. A new 
word, for instance, can have a powerful in- 
formation value. The word bilong, in Pidgin 
English in Upper New Guinea, for instance, 
means.'.': inc zsscaaiicn frmns of. Bilong al- 
lows you to hold something in a trame of ref- 
o-'orce wr.hcut oefinn "j its rolationsh p ve-y 
precisely, "You bilong ".its "estaurant" means 
that you are in the restaurant at the moment, 
or thai you should be here, or a whole lot of 
other things. "Lamp him bilong table" means 
the lamp is part of what we would normally 
regard as this table scene. 

I am working on a new higher-order lan- 
guage for everyday use, II would allow us to 
say things precisely and also to talk in para- 
Q'aphs instead of single words. 
Omni: Is your self-coined word po an ex- 

De Bono: Po allows you to say things you 
cannot otherwise say ir English. Po signals 
that you have to suspend judgment, that you 
have to provoke a new angle of vision in 
contemplating a problem. I drew it from 
words like hypothesis, poetry suppose, and 
possible — situations in which ideas are used 
for forward effect. In German, po means 
"backside," and in Thai it means "naked," I 
found out later. Po is not maybe or perhaps. 
II allows the setting up of patterns never to 
be found in experience in order to reset the 
mind so that it can snap into new palierns. 
You can say, "Po. a factory should be down- 
stream of itself," and that.leads to the notion 
ol legislating that a factory's input pipe 
should be downstream ot its own output pipe 
to ensure thai il doesn't pollute the river. You 
can say, "Po, cars should have square 
wheels," and that provokes some very inter- 
esting ideas, including :ne reason why North 
American cullures never developed the 
wheel. They had something better in the 
sticks they bound together and towed be- 
h : no Ihcir horses. These s',c-=.s ccuic bounce 
up and down' and so be effectively friction- 
free in the "up" phase, Po is an extremely 
powerful .word because i: frees us instantly 
from the judgment idiom. In the end, of 
course, the idea has : .o be judged, before it 
is put to use. but only then. The notion that 
an'idea must be right at each stage is an 
information absurdity, like so much of our 
li-aoitional logic. 

For example, the invention of radar hinged 
on a cos p'doly mi sou. dec: suggestion put 
before [British physicist] Robert Watson- 
Watt. Some crank wrote in and proposed that 
radio waves mighl be used as a death ray 

to shool down enemy aucraM. Watt thought 
that was a daft idea, since the amount of 
energy you get in a radio transmission is tiny. 
But his assistant. Wilkins, speculated that if 
we can't shoot down an airplane, maybe we 
can detect where, it is. The original notion 
wasn't at all feasible, but it provoked the 
successful idea that radio might be used to 
track hostile aircraft at night or beyond the 
line of sight. 

The whole ol the" electronics industry is 
based upon a mistake. [American physicist] 
Lee De Forest was playing around in his lab 
wifh two copper spheres, and when he put 
a high static-electric charge on them, he no- 
ticed that at the moment the spark jumped 
the gap between the spheres, the gas flame 
in the corner of the room flickered. He 
Ihought this phenomenon showed the ioni- 
zation of air, and based on that idea he in- 
vented the triode tube, the firs! real means 
of electronic amplification. The only problem 
was that it was a total load of nonsense. 
Sound, not electricity, had been the cause; 
clapping his hands would have produced 
the same effect, 

Omni. You have said you intend to be in- 
volved with an Al project sometime. What 
will be your approach? 
De Bono: It I was designing a computer lo 
think. I would make sure that il could nor do 
arithmetic. Similarly, I would design a com- 
puter capable of making mistakes, which is 
how the human brain operates. Imagine a 
hawk with very acute eyesight that accu- 
rately spies mice from a long dislance. If the 
mice die out, that hawk is doomed. But a 
shortsighted hawk, not very good al dis- 
criminating and prone to pounce on any- 
thing above a certain size, will survive be- 
cause it will go lor lizards and other things 
after the mice die out. 

So mistakes can be valid, and virtues can 
be restricting. What I call "the blurry brain" 
has an ability to form rather vague general 
concepts as a base lor narrowing down af- 
terward. II you narrow down ir rho beginning 
you don't get any cross-links. 

tOmni: You. rarely quote scholars and re- 
searchers in your field. How much do you 
read of this literature? 
De Bono: I am involved in so many practical 
operations^ such as teaching or SITO, it's 
difficull for me to lind the time. In my idiom 
I'm a modern equivalent of Aristotle in his 
day — a conceptualizer, a designer. I regard 
myself as a sort of malhemalician-designer 
Who puts things into practice, not an aca- 
demic scholar. 

The idea that you should read as much as 
you can in a research field — what I call the 
scholarship or library function — is a great 
misconception. I have suggested paired re- 
search teams where two guys both start out 
reading the literature, but then one guy stops 
and gets on with the innovating. The other 
continues reading, and if he sees the first 
going in a well-known direction, he tells him. 
If the innovator needs a certain piece of in- 
formation, the researcher provides it. But if 
the reader sees the. other going in an inno- 
vative direction, he keeps quiet. That way 

you combine full information in one head, 
with innocence in the other head. 
Ompi: Some critics call your, thinking tools 
simplistic. Do they misunderstand your aims? 
DeBono: I'm ;i 'crested in very simple, prac- 
tical thinking tools lhat can be learned early 
in school, or by people in business, and Ihen 
applied throughout life. I'm delighted to end 
up with something simple. If you cannot make 
something simple, in the end you do-not know 
what you are about. It you want to be taken 
seriously, however', you have to write impen- 
etrable rubbish, because no writer can rely 
on the reader to see the full implications of 
what is simply written, The virtue of obscure 
writing is that it gives employmenl to a whole 
breed whose business it is to interpret you 
to the world— interpreting Fvlarcuse, inter- 
preting Wittgenstein, and so on. Since there 
are many more of those than [here are of 
you, they acl as amplifiers. 
Omni: Can you leach anyone to be creative? 
De Bono: Without any douhl at all! Creativity 
is a function of motivation -curiosity, want- 
ing to do things differently— and talent. In 
artistic crealivity, a great deal oi the talent is 
judgment— will it do, won't it do, shall I 
change it? Crealivily is largely a method of 
thinking, style, pattern, habits, and tech- 
niques thahcan become internalized I hero 
is a very serious crealivily dilemma Eve'y 
valuable creative idea wil be logical in hind- 
sight, so we' then say what is needed is not 
creativity but better logic. That is why .we 
haye"been unable culturally to pay serious 

attention to creativity. We can recognize a 
creative idea as valuable only when il is log- 
ical in hindsight. So we have to understand 
the asymmetric nafure of patterning sys- 
tems in order to see that an idea, logical in 
hindsight, may be invisible in foresight. We 
have to go beyond. ordinary thinking. 
Omni: Can an untutored person think as ef- 
fectively as a Harvard graduate can? 
De Bono: Oh, sometimes better. I find uni- 
versity thinking is good of its type, bul that 
type is very limited. Much academic think- 
ing could be carried out by a computer pro- 
grammed to do library searches. 
Omni: Do politicians like new ideas? 
De Bono: I should say of any group I've ex- 
perienced, including iie'eely religious sects, 
politicians are Ihe least interested in ideas. 
One reason is that a politician cannot test an 
idea. He can't say. "We're going to try this 
tax system in this little town there." It's risky 
lor him to take an initiative. His best policy is 
lo wait for a crisis, when any action is seen 
as an amelioration, and then act. 
Omni: Critics assert President Reagan is ill- 
informed, makes gaffes in press confer- 
ences, and otherwise shows limited intellec- 
tual grasp. Does an effective president have 
to be a good thinker? 

De Bono: Reagan is a good president, 
whether or not he is a good thinker. America 
should really be a monarchy in order to sep- 
arate the image-reassurance or leadership 
role of the president from the thinking and 
executive roles. It is an impossible job to have 


"I'm having it beaten into a plowshare." 

(hem all playeci hy one person. As a sym- 
bolic leader wilh ccrtai'i reassuing :.|i,ali- 
ties, Reagan does very well. The amount of 
change thai can be made by any president 
in practical policy is minute. The United 
States should acknowledge this reality by 
moving lo a kind of monarchy wittra figure- 
head who provides emoiional satisfaction 
and absorbs the icago needs of the people 
arid lets Ihe it-ink ng be done by others. 
Omni: Your proposed agency. SITO. will 
provide new thinking lo po Tea; leaceis or' 
an international level? 
De Bono: SITO will endeavor to locus the 
best thinking in the world on such areas as 
economics and war. In a truly well-thinking 
world, we won't have wars. The dialectic 
" mode is an extremely meffiaer 1 mode o> 
change because in order to change some- 
thing, you have lo allack what is; so its sup- 
porters defend it. They get more rigid; you 
get more slrident, until one party or the other 
prevails. Very little ofthe thinking that's done 
during Ihis process is ever related to de- 
signing a better alternative. A changeover 
to perceptual thinking is the key. The icgic 
of Tie nuclear standoff will nol be .dissolved 
without a change in concepts and ways of 
looking at the issue. 

Omni: Whal e.se do you fee! sironglyabout? 
De Bono: Waste, inefficiency, Ihe inability to 
use available resources to solve existing 
problems, and bullying — I don't see a justi- 
fication for bullying. Arrogance, too. is inex- 
cusable because il says. "I \now I don i wani 
to listen," and stops all communication^ 
Omni: Suppose politicians ignore SITO arc 
continue lo endanger the world with old 
Ihinking patterns. Will you then speak out? 
De Bono: No. As my work in teaching shows, 
great change comes more by concept de- 
sign than by passion. The days of scoring 
points with passion in mosl areas is over. 
Gandhi, for instance, was extremely persua- 
sive n hi-; .jiHpassonate way. I can push a 
ball across a foam-rubber surlace, or, if I de- 
press the foam, the ball will roll of its own 
accord. Similarly, I don't push but lead by 
making availab-e a concent in an area into- 
which il moves. 

Omni: You've written a book, The Happiness 
Purpose, about the problem of achieving 
happiness. Is there a solution? 
De Bono: [Laughing] I'd say that happiness 
isn't achieved so much by Ihe removal ol all 
cares, worries, and suffering but raiher 
through an active design process. Just .as 
you construct a stage setting for a play to 
bring oul the best in a group of actors, you 
need lo design a lilos stage setting. Some 
of the tradilional styles make one .seem more 

Omni: Are you a happy man? 
De Bono: Nol all Ihe time, perhaps about 
sixty percent. Ofthe remaining forty, about 
half is dealing with- maintenance problems 
that have arisen oul of success. Some parts 
have gone up and some down. 
Omni: Do you Hunk that's a good score?,. 
De Bono: Yes, it's a pretty good score.. But 
there are probably some very placid per- 
sonalities who achieve a seventy/thirty. DO 

130 OMNI 


tute of Human Development, in New Haven. 

Like Baker and many olher doctors at the 
meetings, New York psychiatrist Allan (.'ol: 
began to search for a pattern of yeast-re- 
'ai.ee p'oblerns m his own patients." 

Asking detailed questions about his pa- 
tients' medical histories, Cott found thai many 
had taken antibiotics, birth-control pills, and 
other immunosuppressors. "I tried treating 
them for yeast, and I saw a remarkable 
clearing of iheir "neurotic — as well as their 
physical — symptoms," he says, 

Autism pioneer Bernard Rimland, director 
of the San Diego-bascc Institute for Child- 
Behavior Research, was also fascinated by 
Truss's observations. "Whilelhe number of 
cases in which autism is caused by Can- 
dida may be quite small, I think it clearly plays 
a role in some cases. We are presently look- 
ing for kids with particular characteristics — 
for example, a history ol ear infections and 
repeated rounds of ant : b otic therapy- lhal 
lead us :o suspect 'ha: Candida albicans is 
related to their autism," Rimland says, 

Despitethe growing interest of other doc- 
tors — many of whom were traveling lo Bir- 
mingham io ask Tress questions aboul can- 
didiasis and to share their own observations 
of yeast patients— Can di da was not. giving 
up its secrets easily. And it seemed to be 
implicated in more and more illnesses. By 
-the late Seventies, Truss was seeing an in- 
creasing number of people who were hy- 
persensitive to chemicals and many foods. 
As he sfudie'd their case histories, Truss be- 
came 1 convinced that severe environmental 
illness, some 7 irr.es called twentieth-century 
syndrome, was somehow yeast-induced. 
. One of these people was Michael, the for- 
mer runner. For nearly i'lrec years, the young 
man had lived an solated existence, spend- 
ing most of his hours in a room made as 
sterile as possible and faking allergy shots 
that doctors hoped would boost his immune 
system. Nothing worked. One day another 
hypersensitive patient told Michael about 
Truss. So armed with his oxygen tank, face 
masks, organic lood. and a tent, Michael 
forced his body to make Ihe trip: to travel 
hundreds of miles from home' for one last 
shot at finding an answer. 

Truss asked the pale, drawn man the same 
question he had asked the dying mine 
worker nearly 30 years' earlier. It is, he be- 
lieves, the mosl important question a doctor 
can ask; When did you last feel well? 
" "Until the summer of 1976, 1 was in the top 
twenty of the U.S. road-race rankings," Mi- 
chael said. "But in late August, after jogging 
one morning, I noticed thai my penis was 
swollen- Within thiciy days. ■ was loo weak to 
run at all." 

A rash had- developed on his scrotum, and 
his pulse raced every time he ale. Exposure 
to cigarette smoke made him ill. Then, any 
chemical smell began to leave him dazed. 

He also became- impotent. 

As Truss asked question- alter question, 
delving for details lhal 'Tgn; have been over- 
looked, Michae. remembe'ed that his wife 
had a severe ease o" yeast vaginitis at the 
same I me nis penis firsl necamc irritated. 

Truss placed him on diet and drug ther- 
apy. Michael began to improve immediately, 
W thin :-onlhs. no gained 30 pounds, and a 
chronic fungus infection on his toes disap- 
peared. By late summer of 1980 he was run- 
ning competitively again, Perhaps mosl dra- 
mafcaly. no was no longer mpotent. 

Although yeast vag n lis and menstrual ir- 
regularities had mad;; candidiasis more ob- 
vious in women, Michael's case brought 
Truss dramatic evidence of the yeast's role 
in men's health problems. "Here was a man 
in his late twenties, a vigorous athlete, who 
was impotent lor two years, until his yeast 
problem was treafed," Truss explains. "It 
reinforced my suspicion lhat it was possible 
lor Ihe yeast to have aprotound interference 
in hormone function in men." 

Truss heard from other doctors that they, 
too, had dramatic results when they treated 
chemically sensitive patients for candidi- 
asis, Other serious health problems some- 
times cleared up when doctors treated Can- 
dida albicans infections. By 1981 Truss had 
word that cases c agnosed as seven differ- 
ent serious autoimmune diseases had re- 
sponded lo yeast treatment. But this was all 
clinical observation; It didn't explain how 
Candida was wreaking its havoc on the hu- 
man body. 

"if Candida is making people this sick, it 
has to be leaving all sorts of tracks behind," 
Truss told his friend, Alabama businessman 
Emil Hess. "We need to look at metabolic 
pathways. We need to find statistically sig- 
nificant abnormalities— things that you don't 
ordinarily see on a chemistry profile," 

We . what's nex:?" asked Hess, a former 
candidiasis oaf enl himself, 

Truss sighed. The bitter truth was lhat he 
had no resources to pursue technical re- 
search. And he had gone as far as he could, 
working with patients and reporting what he 
.saw. "I guess all I can do is hope somebody 
with a laboratory will get interested in doing 
research on this problem." 

To Truss's complete amazemenl, Hess 
said, "I'll build you a lab." 

Hess, his wife Jimmie, and two other 
prominent Birmingham famries (the Irelands 
and the Pittmans) whose own lives had been 
touched by Truss formed the nonprofit Crit- 
ical Illness Research Foundation to fund 
candidiasis research. The laboratory, built 
onto the back of Truss's office in downtown 
Birmingham, opened in 1983. 

Truss knew it could take years before he 
had measurable ev dence thai Ihe yeast was 
disrupting multiple body systems. "I said at 
the time I began working in the lab thai I 
would be delighted lo ;mc: iust one thing that 
was consistently out of kilter in candidiasis 
patients," he remembers, "instead, every test 
we ran was abnormal." 

He ran samples of Candida patients' blood 
and urine through a se-ies ol tests. He looked 

at amino acids — by-products of protein me- 
tabolism that show up in the urine — and 
found marked deviations from normal lev- 
els, including extremely low levels of GABA, 
one of the most important neurotransmitters 
in the central nervous system. To assess red 
blood cells' .ability lo elongate and com- 
press, as they have to do in the body's small 
capillaries, he filtered the cells through a 
sievelike screen with openings about one 
third their size. This test showed that the ox- 
ygen-carrying red blood cells from Candida 
patients were rigid and stiff when compared 
with those of patients without Candida. Fur- 
thermore, Candida patients' cells returned 
to normal after the patterns took nystatin for 
several months. 

These and other preliminary findings gave 
Truss new confidence that the Candida rid- 
dle would one day be solved. There was 
more reason than ever to be optimistic: He 
was no longer a lone clinician pursuing an 
out-of-the-mainstream theory. There were 
calls from scientists and doctors around the 
world — from France, India, Bulgaria. To help 
answer questions and, he hoped, lo interest 
other physicians in treating patients tor can- 
didiasis, Truss wrote and published a book, 
The Missing Diagnosis, in 1983. 

In December of that year, it became ob- 
vious that his Candida theory had gener- 
ated much curiosity. Hundreds of mycolo- 
gists, immunologists, and doctors packed a 
hotel ballroom in downtown Birmingham for 
a yeast/human-interaction symposium, co- 

sponsored by the Critical Illness Research 
Foundation and the Gesell Institute. 

"Anyone who takes an open-minded look 
at this always says it's' very important," Baker 
says. "We need an environmental under- 
standing of illness. We have lo learn that we 
exist in an environment — an external as well 
as an internal one. Candida albicans may 
teach us that." 

Many in the medical community have 
never heard of Truss's views on Candida. 
Before publishing his work in a major medi- 
cal journal, he needed the results from lab 
tests — results he has only recently ob- 
tained. But the observations of other re- 
searchers are bearing out many of his ideas. 
It is as though a mosaic were being labori- 
ously pieced together. Doctors throughout 
the country are demonstrating a link be- 
tween Candida and several other more se- 
rious illnesses. 

For example, allergist and immunologist 
Alan Levin suggests there may be a con- 
nection between AIDS and Candida. 

"Candida is an opportunistic organism, 
and AIDS patients develop candidiasis be- 
cause their immune systems are so bad. I 
treated several palients at high risk for AIDS 
whose T cell helper/suppressor ratios looked 
as though the patients would develop the 
disease," he says. 'After Candida treatment, 
and life-style changes, the ratio normalized. 
. So although a virus causes AIDS, I think 
there's a chance you might be able to re- 
verse the onset of the disease by getting rid 

"Ernest, let's talk about your carbohydrates. " 

of the Candida early on," he adds. 

There have been other hints of a fungus/ 
AIDS link. National Institutes of Health sci- 
entists reported in The New England Jour- 
nal of Medicine that they've found mole- 
cules from fungus infections in the blood of 
.AIDS victims. And in an article published in 
The Journal of the American Medical Asso- 
ciation, doctors at Montefiore Medical Cen- 
ter, in New York, stated that thrush was a 
clear and early AIDS warning sign in high- 
risk individuals. 

Ominous reports from Michigan Techno- 
logical University microbiologist Eunice 
Carlson state that there's a deadly, synergis- 
tic relationship between Candida albicans 
and certain sirains of staphylococcus. Carl- 
son infected mice with staph strains asso- 
ciated with toxic shock syndrome (TSS). 
Usually these strains are relatively nonlethal 
in mice. Only massive doses could possibly 
cause death. But when she added Candida, 
the amount of staph needed to kill the ani- 
mals dropped 100,000 times. 

According to Carlson, the two infectious 
agents seem to aid each oiher: Staph grows 
inside colonies of Candida, and the yeasi, 
somehow, protects the bacteria and en- 
courages its growth. This synergism, she 
postulates, could play a role in TSS. "It is 
important to note that TSS is associated wifh 
fhe menstrual period, and Candida infec- 
tions flare up right before menstruation. And 
TSS primarily affects the upper and middle 
classes — people who are more likely to go 
to doctors frequently and take more yeast- 
stimulating antibiotics," she explains. 

Other scientists are producing laboratory 
data thai suggest Candida is waging a so- 
phisticated war against the immune system. 

Japanese microbiologist Kazuo Iwata has 
identified [he molecular structure of potent 
toxins found in some strains of Candida that 
severely depress B cells and T cells in the 
immune systems of animals. 

And at Cornell Medical College, immu- 
nologist Steven Witkin is recording changes 
in the lymphocytes (white blood cells that 
are an important part of the immune sysiem) 
of women who suffer from chronic yeast va- 
ginitis. His findings? "In a group of sixty-f:ve 
such women, approximately three fourths 
had lymphocytes that became paralyzed 
when confronted with Candida. Even when 
we just took a patient's serum — the part of 
the blood with no cells — and mixed that with 
normal lymphocytes, there was some factor 
capable of blocking the response of normal 

Drawing on his own laboratory research, 
Truss proposes this reasoning: In addition to 
antigenic products and immunosuppres- 
sive toxins, Candida albicans may be pro- 
ducing the chemical acetaldehyde. Alco- 
holism researchers have already doc- 
umented the devastating effects this chem- 
ical has on the body. 

Acetaldehyde is the precursor of ethyl al- 
cohol and the first by-product of alcohol's 
oxidation. Normally, when we drink alcohol 
or when intestinal flora produce tiny amounts 
of alcohol, our bodies immediately oxidize it 





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into acetaldehyde and Ihen mlo safe com- 
pounds. Bui Tuss nroposes I hat people with 
yeast-related health problems are being 
Dvsir uaood with :hc toxin. 

In the mid-Seventies. Japanese scien::sis 
found a strain of Candida albicans with the 
ability to nicJKP ■-; ! ,.-;.r. ■ measurably drunk. 
The yeasl change carbohydrates in the 
body into alcohol. Thirty Japanese victims, 
ranging in age from- three to seventy-four, 
and one Amer can. hac oeen stricken with 
this peculiar health problem, dubbed mei- 


i dem 

hai fermen 

ation can take place 

-tube research shows 

ar strains o 

Candida albicans can 

arbor v : .. 

es into acetaldehyde. if 

So fruss postulates that 

f the yeast, like those 

sd in Japa 

, have the necessary 

to fermen - 

all the way to alcohol, 

only as far as the pro- 

ew up every system in 

■jl:>'-'iCid oxidation 
cut blocker of synai 

;, could account 
candidiasis pa- 
t that such pa- 
v and frequently 
,ure. mqhtblind- 

3 Unci down w In :ho ccnic's direcio' of 
research, biochemist Steve Barker, Truss 
explained some of his ideas. "I think there's 
a chance that acetacehyce is being gen- 
erated by the yeast, and it may be binding 
to neurotransmitters and causing brain 
symoioms." he explained. 
"Wa'l. ' Backer said. I'll be right back." 
He returned with a paper no nao pub 
lished in the Journal of Mcdicsi i lyooiheses 
four years earlier.- In this paper, Barker sug- 
gested that fc^ aldehyde mighl be indi- 
cated in schizophrenic brain dyskneror 
Formaldehyde is a close molecular cousin 
of acetaldehyde, and the two toxic sub- 
stances arc metabolized similarly by the 

bocy truss hac: obse'ved trial exposure to 
formaldehyde— in carpeting, furniture, par- 
ticleboard — often caused candidiasis 
symptoms to worsen. 

"It was enough to make me think about 
crvine providence," Truss acknowledges, 
augh ng. ' Not only had I r un into probabiy 
the only man in ihe South with the know-how 
and the technology to run the tests I needed. 
but he had a personal interest in what I was 
looking for/' 

In the spring el 1984 -.ho search began for 
acetaldehyde in- the plasma, red blood cells, 
and breath of untreated candidiasis pa- 
tients. Barker used two complicated ma- 
chines, the gas chromatograph and the 
mass . spectrometer, which separate sub- 
stances into a pattern that is digitized and 
"read" by a computer. 

What have they found? No'lher Iruss nc 
Barker will reveal a;' the details ot their re- 
search until it is published in the medical 
■iio.'fr.i/o. Measuring his words carefully, 
BaiK.cr says: "Pre. mmary studies in certain 
untreated Candida patients have demon- 
strated high levels of this very toxic com- 
pound, acelatdohyde . . And in several in- 
stances, those t" u" H -e.s returned to normal 

Some members of the medical and sci- 
entific community have begun to cast doubts 
:.i " ..: '< !«:■ n ■; iyi ■ It i.nen Reingold, 
assistant viee-prosiden: of research for the 
\a:i::.n'al ivluhple 3c erosis Society: "The only 
people I know pursuing Ihe acetaldehyde 
theory are Truss and his colleagues. Most of 
the mainstream researchers think multiple 
sclerosis involves a generic predisposition 
lha: probably has some early life trigger- 
most likely a virus. 

"If people with M.S. do well on Truss's 
therapy, this reflects another susceptibil- 
ity — they may also be susceptible to aller- 
gies. By couriering ihe anergics, they will 
feel better But," he adds, "to my knowledge, 
Truss has no' demonstrated a relationship 
between his allergen of choice and M.S. 

"The Medical Advisory Board does not 
recommend this treatment. It costs money 
and raises false hope. And people with M.S. , 
especially tne ■ lapsing and remitting kind, 
are notoriously susceptible to the placebo 

Furthermore, Reingold points out that 
Truss has never tested his theory in a dou- 
b.e-bliud study, using M.S. patients. 

"rus:- -ias never claimed that chronic can- 
didiasis is the cause of depression, lupus, 
menstrual disorders, and the host of other 
ills that have reportedly ceared up in yeast 
p-iliei'l;^ alxir treatment. 

"What we are trying to do is to see the 
relationship between Candida and these 
conditions thai go ur.ccr clil : e<ent names. At 
no time have I said it is pass ole to treat M.S. 
or lupus by treai ng Candida. My approach 
has always been to look for the yeast prob- 
lem and to treat it where t exists. Thei 1 1 un- 
serve to see if that seems to help any other 
problems," he says. 

"1 don't believe that it is ethical for me, as 
a piivate pracii-.ioner. lo conduct double- 


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blind studios Bui we car come up wilh so 
much hard laboratory evidence, Ihings othei 
people can duplicate, that no one is going 
to be able to argue that Candida albicans 
isn't causing multiple problems." 

There will be n-ceot'i discuss -ens ol ac:- 
taldehyde and other research this month 
when scientist ana" physicians meet at the 
second Yeasi/Human ir-.cactcn Syrnx.--- 
ium, inSan Francisco, Marcn 29 30 and .V 
"For a long time, this whole idea sounded 
more like a region lhari a science; you either 
believed it or you didn't.' says John Bennett, 
chief mycologis; "or the- i\a; cnal Institutes ot 
Health "It is gome to be investing to see 
all :he 'eseaic'n wner ii s published." 

Immunologist Stan Bauman, ot the Uni- 
versity ot Oklahoma ivloo cai School, and al- 
lergist Howard Hagglund will be among 

Ihe blood ot people w 

h suspected yeast- 

related health problem 

"We hope that in the 

next year or so, this 

w.ll lead to a simple dia 

:.;'"iostic tost tor can- 

ays According to 

bysicians who sus- 

i Candida albicans 

mg a role in the ill 

health of millions of pe 

)[)'(■] su.cn rosea:"" 

is not coming a minute too soon, 

Candida is an organ 

sm thai lives with us 

yone. in a sense, at 

ccording to mathe- 

sed on the number 

uces. there may be 

ndida in the world. 

caby pick up new 

J. Requa.' disinfec- 

tants won't kill it," he 

ays. "Certainly it is 

spread by kissing ar 

d by sexual inter- 

course And 1 don't see 

any way that a new- 

smother's strains." 

aastdoes not always 

ealth problem. "The 

y when a particular 

deal with a particu- 


does fall victim to 

peful outlook for the 

any ncople can get 

upset the function of 

lamagirtg than, And 


s life threatening bul 

ng home outside of 

g-rrnmgnam Truss vo 

ws to continue the 

search for the answer 

. Often, the conver- 

sation turns to his patie 


"1 never started oh : 

ssuming these peo- 

pie were neurotic, just 

;ecaus!.! no one had 

come up with a cause 

of Iheir symptoms. 1 

listened to them." he s 

This belief in his pat 

ents, the thousand? 

of people who have re 

;overcd their health. 

fuels Truss's quiet faith 

hat one day his can- 

didiasis theory will be 

dliy acceo;ed by ! !":■:■ 

medical esiai:i: s-i'-r.oni.DG 



to« 5 ffi®5 

his favorite configuration, the spiral. "Part 
of the project ind 
of the doc to 

i's entire stomach 
id chest.'' Genlhe explains. "I had just 

underwater, while 
brain coral. Looking 

Before the physician began applying a 
fungicide to the child's belly, Genthe photo- 
graphed the pattern carved by the par " 

id Kodachrome 64 film.DQ 

Microworlds, joggling records, 
dominoes, and dovetails 

By Scot Morris 

This month we catch up on new develop- 
ments related to some of the subjects 
treated in past columns. 


Omni Competition #10 asked readers to 
suggest prizeworthy human achieve- 
ments—milestones that might be reached 
sooner it prizes were offered as an incen- 
tive. This would be in the spirit of Charles 
Lindbergh's first solo flight across the 
Atlantic, which won him a $25,000 prize, 
and the human-powered Gossamer 
Albatross flight across the English Channel, 
which netted a prize of £190,000. 

A runner-up in Competition #10 (reported 
in June 1980) was a challenge by Glenn 
Jenkins, of Kent, Washington, for the first self- 
contained and " self-sustaining environment 
of living things . . . air- and watertight," 
and "including at least ene kind of plant and 
one kind of animal (nonmicroscopic)." 

A significant advance toward that goal 
has recently come to our attention, and the 
nice thing about it is that you can buy 
one for yourself and put it on your desk. It's 
a sealed glass ball, about five inches in 
diameter, containing several tiny red shrimp, 
some green algae, a soup of bacteria in 
seawater, and air. Set the sphere where it will 
get plenty of indirect sunlight, and the life 
cycle will take care of itself for who knows 
how long. 

The truth is, no one does know because 
the oldest prototype, which will be five 
years old this July, started with three shrimp 
and still has two healthy ones going 
strong. The algae and bacteria reproduce 
continuously in this environment. The. 
female shrimp have gotten pregnant and 
released eggs, but unfortunately the eggs 
didn't survive. So the sphere is not perpet- 
ually self-sustaining tor the nonmicroscopic 
creatures, but five years is still a pretty 
good record. 

The makers of the EcoSphere say that 
the technology for making these tiny 
environments comes out of NASA research 
at the Jei Propulsion Laboratory, in ■ 
Pasadena, California, on bioregenerative , 
human life-support systems for long-range 
space travel. 

They say that in the wild these Pacific 

132 OMNI 

shrimp live more than five years. The plant- 
animal life cycle works like this: Algae 
bask in light and produce oxygen as they 
grow. Shrimp breathe the oxygen and 
eat the algae and bacteria. The shrimp and 
bacteria give otf carbon dioxide needed 
by the algae for photosynthesis and growth. 
The bacteria decompose any waste 
material from the shrimp, breaking it down 
into basic chemical nutrients used by 
the algae. The only energy source that's 
necessary for the sphere is sunlight — the 
same energy source that drives life 
systems on Earth. 

Each EcoSphere is assembled by hand. 
They cost $250 apiece, postpaid, and 
can be ordered from Engineering and 
Research Associates, 500 North Tucson 
Boulevard, Tucson, AZ 85716. Shipments 
usually go out the same day an order is 
received; so time your order so that it 
will reach you on a day you are home. This 
way you can promptly open the package 
and give the critters some needed sunlight. 
A lighted base is supplied in case your 
office has no windows. Each sphere comes 
with a warranty for replacement if fewer ■ 
than three shrimp are still alive after one year. 
The warranty doesn't apply if you acciden- 
tally drop and break the sphere. 


In May 1981, we described computer- 
graphic artist Ken Knowlton's technique for 
producing pictures out of dominoes. 
Knowlton has patented his process and 
now markets plans for making several 
famous portraits (Einstein, Groucho Marx. 
Lincoln. Washington, Charlie Chaplin, 
Marilyn Monroe, the Statue of Liberty, a 
panda, and a-cheetah}, each out of four 
complete sets of double-nine dominoes. 
Knowlton sets himself the restriction of 
using only complete sets of dominoes — 
otherwise it would be loo easy to use 
just double-blank dominoes when black 
areas are needed, double-nines for white 
areas, and double-fives for intermediate 
grays. By requiring that every domino 
in the sei be used, he sets himself the task 
of finding the optimal place for such "diffi- 
cult" dominoes as the nine-blank, the eight- 
one, and soon. 

He finds that the minimum number of 
complete sets of double-nine dominoes 
necessary for a recognizable picture of 
someone famous is four (with 55 in each 
set, this totals 220 dominoes), which 
produces a 20 inch by 22 inch rectangle 
when standard dominoes (each about 
1 inch by 2 inches) are used. Now you can 
order several famous-portrait plans ($10 
each, plus $1.60 for shipping). The plans 
come in two parts: First, for masochists, 
there's a puzzle version, in which each 
square of the design is identified but the 
orientation of the dominoes is left for the 
puzzler to work out. And for those of us with 
a low tolerance for frustration there's a 
complete "correct" plan for making the 
portrait. One nice thing about all this is that 
once you have your dominoes (four sets 

for $16. plus $2.50 for shipping), you can 
assemble them one way to make your 
Marilyn, then take them apart and start over 
to make your Groucho, your Einstein, your 
Chaplin, and soon. 

Order Domino-Pix from Metron Studios, 
Box 27103, Oakland, CA 94602. 


Lasl May, in the Museum of the Impossi- 
ble, Part II, we showed a classic puzzle, 
the impossible dovetail, a joint of two blocks 
of wood on which there are identical 
dovetails projecting the same way (upward 
in the example shown) on all four sides. 
We then posed a challenge suggested by 
Nob. Yoshigahara, games editor of the 
Japanese science magazine Quark, to 
construcl a similar join! in which the dovetails 
alternate— up, down, up, down. We asked 
readers to send in their solutions. Yoshiga- 
hara received four replies after he posed 
this puzzle to Japanese puzzle solvers. We 
guessed that Omni readers would come 
up with even more. We were right. We 
received more than 60 proposed solutions 
from 35 different readers. We reviewed 
the entries and sent copies to Yoshigahara 
and to Bill Cutler, a Wausau, Wisconsin, 
expert on wood-puzzle design. 

Omni readers came up with far more 
variations on the theme than we ever 
imagined. Unfortunately, our open-ended 
wording of the problem lett the door open for 
some original but I ess-than- elegant 
solutions. Since we didn't specify "two 
pieces of wood," some proposals were 
made from three or four pieces, and one 
reader, in a stroke of clever lateral thinking, 
did it with two pieces of foam rubber! 
Others capitalized on the flexible nature of 
wood and got very thin dovetails that 
could bend out of the way as a block is 
pushed past, then snap back into position. 

Another less-than-elegant solution 
involves hollowing out the pieces of wood 
so that when they are assembled, empty ■ 
spaces. remain inside. These cavities ranged 
from mere slots to huge hollows so that 
the remaining pieces looked more like shells 
of wood than blocks. Since the puzzle 
can be solved with two solid pieces of wood, 
we should have disallowed this approach. 


From left: Impassible dovetail, its 

and a reader's solution to the dovetail challenge. 

But since we didn't, a large number of our 
correspondents probably stopped working 
on the problem once they had come up 
with one of these solutions. 

Within the solid solutions there were two 
basic approaches. In a "slide" the two 
pieces fit together by sliding one onto the 
other at a 45° angle. We judged the best 
entries on this line to be from Raymond 
Stanton, of Alameda, California (shown 
above), and Gary Winn, of St. Charles, 
Illinois. In a "twist" solution, one piece fits 
into the other by twisting or rotating. Three 
readers sent "twist" solutions, and the 
best of them was judged to be by Kent 
Graybeal, of Warrensburg, Missouri. The 
problem with "twist" solutions is that they 
leave tiny dovetails that aren't centered on 
their sides, or they present sketches that 
our judges felt wouldn't work in practice. 

Since our look at the physics and mathe- 
matics of juggling, in August 1981, this 
combination of sport and art form has laken 
off. Membership in the International 
Juggler's Association (IJA) has doubled 
(from about 1,500 to 3,000) in the years 
since, and several world's records then are 
former world's records now. 

Joggling is the inspired term to describe 
jogging while juggling. It is usually done 
with three bean bags because they don't 
bounce if dropped. Once you know how to 
juggle three objects, joggling is not as 
hard as it sounds. Until a few months ago, 
the one-mile record was 5 minutes, 44.7 

seconds. Then last summer, at the IJA 
convention in Las Vegas, [he 5-minute mark 
was broken with a time of 4:56.01. Kirk 
Swenson, who set the record, says that his 
best time for an ordinary mile run is 4:40; 
so the act of juggling slowed him down 
by only 16 seconds. 

The 100-meter dash joggling record is 
now 12.6 seconds, set last summer by 
Albert Lucas, the Ice Capades juggler now 
with the Hacienda Hotel, in Las Vegas. In 
the week prior to the same meet, performing 
for judges from the Guinness Book of World 
Records, Lucas kept five clubs going 
for over 37 minutes, shattering the previous 
IJA record of 6 minutes, and he juggled 
seven balls for 2 minutes, 3 seconds, 
six times longer than the IJA record of 20.89 
seconds, set in 1983. 

The all-time record for juggling objects of 
any kind is still 1 1 rings; it was set by Sergei 
Ignatov, of the Moscow Circus. The IJA 
and Guinness consider that two throws and 
catches are necessary for a demonstration 
of juggling (as-opposed to "flashing," 
which involves throwing and catching all 
objects just once). Lucas, who likes to 
juggle even numbers of items, thinks that 
he is now able to do six rings in each hand, 
twice around (24 throws and 24 catches) 
and intends to demonstrate it next month to 
bring the official Guinness record back to 
the United States. 

Next month we'll present an I.Q. test so 
difficult that only one in a million can pass. 
Watch for it here.DO 


. By Clyde J; 

done it? W 
. devious ei 
and had ii 
ability to 
carry out ~i 
rustling? F